The Furman Lady Paladins won their third straight Southern Conference Women’s Golf Championship. Coach Jeff Hull talks about his team’s effort in the championship and during the year that has kept Furman ranked among the top-10 teams in the country.
Natalie Srinivasan won the individual championship at the SoCon Women’s tournament. Srinivasan was also named the freshman of the year in the conference. Natalie talks about her victory and the upcoming NCAA Regionals.
Furman and Srinivasan win Southern Conference titles
The Furman Lady Paladins left little doubt which team would win the Southern Conference Women’s Tournament. Furman opened a 20 shot lead after the first round.
Heavy rain cut the 54 hole tournament to 36 holes when the second round was washed out. After a day off the Lady Paladins didn’t let up in the final round.
After the second and final round the Lady Paladins boosted their lead to 28 shots and picked up their third straight championship trophy.
“We are doing what we thought we could do,” said Furman coach Jeff Hull. “We’ve had a great season and we have a bunch of players who are all playing well as we go to regionals,” said Hull who was named the conference coach of the year.
Furman shot rounds of 280 and 288 to finish at 8-under par 568. Chattanooga was second at 596 with East Tennessee State third at 606.
The only question in the final round was which golfer would top the leader board. Furman golfers Alice Chen and Natalie Srinivasan were tied with Loy Hee Ying of East Tennessee. The three golfers each posted a 3-under par 69 in the opening round.
Srinivasan opened the second round with a birdie to take the lead. Hee Ying fell off the pace on the front nine while Chen stayed close to her teammate.
The freshman from Dorman High School in Spartanburg birdied the 13th hole to open a two shot lead over Chen and finished the round with five straight pars to card a second round 2-under par 70.
Her two day total of 139 was 4-shots better than Chen who finished as a runner-up for the third time this year to go along with a tournament win. Senior Taylor Totland finished at 1-over par and gave the Lady Paladins a sweep of the top-three spots.
I really feel comfortable here,” said Srinivasan. “Luckily I was feeling comfortable at the right times for everything to come together,” she said
The win was the second for Srinivasan on The Country Club of Lexington course. As a high school senior she won the South Carolina AAAA girls championship at the course in 2015.
“I was familiar with some of the holes and that helped. The course played a little different because it was longer than the way we played it in high school,” she said.
Srinivasan not only won the tournament, but she was awarded the honor of being the top freshman in the conference. The SoCon champion is the fourth straight Lady Paladin to win the award. She joins Taylor Totland, Alice Chen and Haylee Harford who each won the award in their first year.
“It was a battle between me and Carly (Burkhardt, a Furman teammate), Unfortunately only one of us can win, but Carly had a great year too,” Srinivasan said.
The Furman team now goes into final exams before getting ready for NCAA Regional play. The victory in the conference tournament gives Furman an automatic bid and even with a top-10 ranking will be an underdog.
“We are Furman, we are used to being the under dog. It’s fine to be the underdog, but I told the girls that they play like a top-10 team because they are. If they believe how good they are I really don’t see why we can’t win everything because they have that kind of talent,” concluded Hull.