OXFORD, MS. -- Freshmen Alice Chen (-1) and Jacqueline Bendrick (-1) each fired a 71 to tie for seventh place, and the 15th-ranked Furman women's golf team led the field Friday after the first round of the Rebel Intercollegiate at the par 72, 6,210 yard Ole Miss Golf Course in Oxford, Miss.
Chen, a native of Princeton, N.J, recorded consecutive birdies on No. 5 and 6 to make the turn at one under then scored an additional birdie on No. 14. Bendrick, who hails from Mercer Island, Wash., was even on the front after birdieing No. 6 and No. 9 then notched back-to-back birdies on No. 13 and 14 to finish the day tied with Chen. The Paladin duo is two strokes back of leader Josee Doyon (-3) of Kent State, who shot a 69 to open the tournament.
Paladin freshman Reona Hirai (E) scored three birdies for an even 72 to tie for 13th, while senior Laura DeMarco (+2) added three birdies, including consecutive birdies on No. 14 and 15, to tie for 26th after carding a 74. Sophomore Taylor Totland (+7) is tied for 76th after shooting a 79 on Friday.
The Paladins (E) led 19th-ranked Texas A&M (+1) by one stroke after shooting a 288 in the opening round. Fresno State (+2) is third, followed by #10 Tennessee (+4) and #18 Kent State (+4), who are tied for fourth.
"The girls really had a great day today," said Furman head coach Kelley Hester. "Conditions were windy and difficult, but they really hung in there. We had a solid team effort with our three freshmen firing 2-under. I'm really proud of everyone today."
Second round play of the 54-hole tournament, which features four teams ranked in the top 20 and five teams among the top 40, begins Saturday at 9 a.m. The tournament will conclude on Sunday at 9 a.m.
The Paladins tee off of No. 1 at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Admission to the tournament is free and fans are welcome. Live tournament scoring will also be available via www.birdiefire.com.
Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information
1st Furman 288 E
T7 Alice Chen 71 -1
T7 Jacqueline Bendrick 71 -1
T13 Reona Hirai 72 E
T26 Laura DeMarco 74 +2
T76 Taylor Totland 79 +7