With the season on the line, Furman responded with its best round of the 2018 NCAA Women’s Golf Championship Monday at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma. It wasn’t enough.
After surviving Sunday’s cut from 24 to 15 teams, Furman entered Monday in 12th place and needing to make up at least eight shots to reach match play. Fueled by a bogey-free, 3-under 69 from Haylee Harford ’19 and a even-par 72 from Reona Hirai ’18, who birdied the final hole of her college career, the Paladins at one point grabbed a tie for ninth but settled for 11th – just three shots from potentially advancing to the tournament’s final eight teams.
Furman’s 1-over 289 tied No. 2 Arkansas for the second-lowest score of the round, but neither team was able to overtake Arizona for the last spot in match play despite the Wildcats shooting 17-over 305 Monday. Arizona advanced after beating Baylor in a two-hole playoff.
Alice Chen ’18 was the Paladins’ top overall performer, capping a 4-over performance with a 73 Monday to tie for 21st. She also birdied the final hole of her Furman career. Harford (+10) tied for 46th.
Furman shot rounds of 312, 293, 294 and 289 after qualifying for a third consecutive NCAA Women’s Golf Championship, and 19th overall, by finishing third out of 18 teams at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional in Florida. The Paladins were one of 24 teams that advanced to the national tournament, and their 11th-place showing comes on the heels of finishing 20th in 2016 and 12th in 2017.
Furman and Kent State were the only schools in the 2018 field not from a Power 5 conference, and outside of Furman (2,800) and Wake Forest (7,591) every other competing institution has an enrollment of more than 15,000.
The Paladins’ best finish in the NCAA Championship is second in 1987, when they lost by a single shot to San Jose State. Prior to 1982, the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) organized the collegiate golf national championship, which Furman won in 1976 fueled by future LPGA Hall of Famers Betsy King ’77 and Beth Daniel ’78.
For more NCAA Women’s Golf Championship coverage, visit FurmanPaladins.com.