Furman’s 1-over team total surpassed the single-round tournament record of 291, set by College of Charleston in 2006 and matched by the Paladins and UNCG in 2013.
Seeking its first title since 2009 and 14th overall, Furman has two players in the top three and its entire counting four in the top 11. In addition to Chen’s 2-under 70, the Paladins got a 1-under 71 from sophomore Taylor Totland, the 24th-ranked golfer nationally, who finished runner-up at last season’s tournament. Furman’s Reona Hirai and Laura DeMarco enter Monday’s second round tied for 11th at 2-over 74.
Mercer’s Deems matched Chen with five birdies on the day, shooting a consistent 1-under on each side of the course and turning in just two holes of bogey or worse. She is the only Bears player in the top 10 individually.
Chattanooga, which has won the tournament each year since 2010, combined for a 6-over 294 Sunday, overcoming a rough first nine holes that saw all five players record scores of 3-over or worse. The Mocs rebounded after the turn, with each of the counting four shooting par or better. Emily McLennan and Agathe Sauzon, the 2014 and 2013 SoCon champions, respectively, each went bogey-free and turned in three birdies on the back nine. McLennan is tied for fifth at even-par and Sauzon is one shot back in a tie for seventh.
Western Carolina has two players situated in the top five and sits third as a team, four strokes back of Chattanooga and nine back of Furman with a 10-over 298. The Catamounts were paced by Ashley Thompson’s 1-under 71, which put her in a tie for third with Furman’s Totland. Kim Mitchell sits a stroke back at even to tie for fifth with UTC’s McLennan.
Joining the Mocs’ Sauzon in a tie for seventh at 1-over are Wofford’s Lela Oakley, UNCG’s Berglind Bjornsdottir and Samford’s Emily Stallings. Stallings had the tournament’s lone eagle of the day, turning a 3 on the par-5 17th hole.
Samford is in fourth place in the team race at 11-over 299, just one stroke back of Western Carolina. Wofford sits fifth at 302, followed by ETSU (303), Mercer (305), UNCG (313) and The Citadel (326).
The second round will tee off at 8 a.m. Monday, with The Citadel, UNCG and Mercer getting things started. ETSU, Wofford and Samford follow at 8:50, and leaders Furman, Chattanooga and Western Carolina will tee off at 9:40 a.m.
Live stats can be found at www.golfstatresults.com and will be updated every three holes. The 54-hole tournament will conclude Tuesday, with the winner earning the SoCon’s automatic bid to the NCAA regionals.
2015 Southern Conference Women’s Golf Championship
Par-72, 6,050 yards
Top 10 individuals
T1. Hannah Mae Deems, Mercer 70
T1. Alice Chen, Furman 70
T3. Ashley Thompson, Western Carolina 71
T3. Taylor Totland, Furman 71
T5. Kim Mitchell, Western Carolina 72
T5. Emily McLennan, Chattanooga 72
T7. Lela Oakley, Wofford 73
T7. Berglind Bjornsdottir, UNCG 73
T7. Emily Stallings, Samford 73
T7. Agathe Sauzon, Chattanooga 73
1. Furman 289
2. Chattanooga 294
3. Western Carolina 298
4. Samford 299
5. Wofford 302
6. ETSU 303
7. Mercer 305
8. UNCG 313
9. The Citadel 326