The Furman Lady Paladins won their second SoCon Women’s championship in a row with an impressive 14 shot victory at the Savannah Quarters Country Club.
Furman held the lead after the first round by three shots over Chattanooga, but a bad weather forecast for the third day of the tournament forced the competition to be condensed into two days. The teams played 36 holes on Tuesday to complete the 54 hole event.
The Lady Paladins improved their lead over Chattanooga in the second round. Furman carded the best round of the tournament with a 285 total to open a nine shot lead going into the second round of the day and final round of the tournament.
The 285 total tied for the second best round score in the history of the tournament.
Furman was led by Taylor Totland in the second round. Totland who shot a disappointing round of 8-over par in the first round, posted the best round of the tournament with a 4-under par 68.
Furman coach Kelley Hester had a simple message for her team as they started the second round of what would be a very long day on the course.
“This is what we work hard for, to be in this situation,” she told her team. “Enjoy it and make the most of it,” added Hester.
In the final round the Lady Paladins were five shots better than Chattanooga to finish claim a decisive victory in the championship.
“It feels good. We circled this date on the calendar all year. It was probably harder to defend the title than it was to win it last year for the first time,” said the Furman coach.
Individually Alice Chen, who led after the first round, held the lead in the tournament until the very end of the final round. A difficult finish for Chen allowed Megan Woods of Chattanooga to tie the Furman sophomore and force a playoff for medalist honors.
On the fifth hole of the playoff Woods was able to claim the individual championship with a par.
Chen was named the SoCon Co-Player of the year. She shared the honor with Emily McLennan of Chattanooga. It was the second straight year a Furman golfer was named the best player in the conference.
The Lady Paladins placed all four of their counting scores in the top-five of the championship. After Chen, Totland was third and freshman Haylee Harford was fourth while senior Valentina Romero was tied for fifth place.
Furman’s final golf, Jacqueline Bendrick, finished 14th and had two of her rounds count in the Lady Paladins victory.
Harford was named the freshman of the year in the conference. The Furman newcomer is the third straight winner of the award for the Lady Paladins.
Coach Kelley Hester received coach of the year honors from the SoCon. It was the second straight year that Hester was named the top coach in the conference.
“I’m really proud of this team for competing the way they did,” said Hester “Placing four players in the top five is quite an accomplishment. “We really had three players who had a shot at player of the year, and it just came down to a shot or two for Alice, Taylor, and Haylee. Ultimately, we needed to play solid golf over three rounds, and we did just that with a total team effort,” she said.
Furman earned a bid to an NCAA Regional tournament. The Regional assignments will be made on April 25th and announced on the Golf Center broadcast of the Golf Channel.
Some photos courtesy of Furman and Southern Conference.
Categories: + College Golf