LEXINGTON, S.C. – Two-time defending champion Furman shot 8-under-par 280, turning in a conference record by four strokes while holding a 20-shot lead over Chattanooga after Sunday's first round of the Southern Conference Women's Golf Championship at the par-72, 6,159-yard Country Club of Lexington. The Paladins' Alice Chen and Natalie Srinivasan and ETSU's Loy Hee Ying each turned in a 3-under 69 to lead the tournament after the first day.
Sunday's first round marks the fourth straight SoCon tournament round in which Chen has held at least a share of the lead, including all three rounds last year at Savannah Quarters in Pooler, Georgia.
Seeking its third straight title and 16th overall, 10th-ranked Furman has four players in the top five. Chen, the 2016 SoCon Co-Player of the Year and tournament runner-up, tied with Loy with six birdies on the day. In six of Chen's seven career SoCon tournament rounds, she has held at least a share of the lead in addition to recording scores of par or better in six rounds.
After bogeying the first hole, a par-5, Srinivasan managed to get back to even on the front nine after birdieing the third hole. After making the turn, the freshman from Spartanburg, South Carolina, birdied three of the last six holes to post a 3-under-par 69.
Chattanooga finished round one at 12-over 300 on the day. The Mocs' Holly Morgan and Megan Woods both registered scores of 2-over-par 74, tying them for sixth on the individual leaderboard. Monica San Juan and Cristina Perez are tied for 14th after posting 4-over-par 76 rounds.
ETSU is third in the team race at 13-over 301 and boasts two players in the top 10, including Loy. The Baru, Kulaijaya, Malaysia, native tallied four birdies on the front nine, including back-to-back birdies on holes three and four, but bogeyed the longest par-4 of the day in hole No. 9, which is 380 yards from the tee box to the pin. Loy, a sophomore, earned back-to-back birdies on holes 14 and 15, a par-4 and 5, respectively. In a four-way tie for 10th place is ETSU's Dominika Czudkova, who posted a 3-over-par 75 in Sunday's opening round.
Mercer is fourth with a team round of 303 and has senior Marin Hanna involved in the four-way tie for sixth place at 74.
UNCG follows in fifth place with a 306, followed by Samford with a score of 310. Western Carolina and Wofford are tied for eighth after posting identical scores of 320.
Wofford's Madison Barnett, a freshman from Mableton, Georgia, claimed Sunday's lone eagle on hole No. 14, a par-4, after sinking her second shot from the fairway – just over 100 yards out.
The Citadel rounds out the team scoring in ninth at 343.
Live stats can be found at www.birdiefire.com and will be updated throughout Monday's second round. The winner of the SoCon Championship will earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals.
2017 Southern Conference Women's Golf Championship
Country Club of Lexington
Par-72, 6,159 yards
Lexington, South Carolina
Top 10 individuals Rd1
T-1. Alice Chen, Furman 69
T-1. Natalie Srinivasan, Furman 69
T-1. Loy Hee Ying, ETSU 69
4 Carly Burkhardt, Furman 70
5. Taylor Totland, Furman 72
T-6. Holly Morgan, Chattanooga 74
T-6. Marin Hannah, Mercer 74
T-6. Megan Woods, Chattanooga 74
T-6. Natalia Asensio, UNCG 74
T-10. Tiffany Kang, Mercer 75
T-10. Hallieanne Hobson, Samford 75
T-10. Louisa Tichy, UNCG 75
T-10. Dominika Czudkova, ETSU 75
Team standings Rd1
1. Furman 280
2. Chattanooga 300
3. ETSU 301
4. Mercer 303
5. UNCG 324
6. Samford 325
T-7. Western Carolina 320
T-7. Wofford 320
9. The Citadel 343