SUGAR GROVE, Ill. – Sophomore Haylee Harford (+4) carded an opening-round 76 to tie for 13th Friday under cold and rainy conditions in the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Championship at the par-72, 6,343-yard Rich Harvest Farms. The ninth-ranked Paladins (+35) concluded the day in 18th place.
Harford, a native of Leavittsburg, Ohio, birdied No. 6 to finish the round four strokes back of the leaders, 19th-ranked August Kim (E) of Purdue and No. 44 Elodie Van Dievoet (E) of Michigan, who both shot an even 72 on Friday.
Senior Taylor Totland (+7) scored a 79 with consecutive birdies on No. 2 and No. 3 to enter Saturday's second round tied for 44th, while junior Alice Chen (+8) shot an 80 with a birdie on No. 2 to tie for 57th. Freshman Natalie Srinivasan (+16), the 2017 SoCon Freshman of the Year, birdied No. 2 and No. 7 to tie for 122nd with an 88, and rookie Carly Burkhardt (+17) tied for 126th with an 89 in the first round. The scoring average for all players in the tournament on Friday was 80.76.
No. 12 Northwestern (+13) holds a two-stroke lead over 14th-ranked Kent State (+15) after leading the field with an opening-round 301. Four teams are tied for third, 10 strokes back of the leader, including No. 25 Ohio State (+23), seventh-ranked Arizona State (+23), top-ranked Stanford (+23) and No. 17 Baylor (+23).
The Paladins, who will tee off of No. 1 at 8:36 a.m. CT on Saturday, are part of a 24-team field that is playing under the NCAA Championship's revised format, which was instituted in 2015. The teams will play 54 holes of stroke play over the course of three days, beginning Friday and continuing through Sunday. The top 15 teams will then play one additional round of stroke play on Monday, May 22. The top eight teams at the end of Monday's round will move into the match-play single-elimination bracket. Tuesday will feature the quarterfinals and semifinals, and the finals will be played Wednesday afternoon.
Furman, which secured the Southern Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by capturing its 16th SoCon Championship last month at the Country Club of Lexington in Lexington, S.C., finished second last week at the NCAA Lubbock Regional to earn a berth at the NCAA Championship. The Paladins finished 20th at least season's NCAA Championship in Eugene, Ore.