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No. 7 Paladins Advance To NCAA Championships; Srinivasan Finishes Third At NCAA Tallahassee Regional

No. 7 Paladins Advance To NCAA Championships; Srinivasan Finishes Third At NCAA Tallahassee Regional

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Sophomore Natalie Srinivasan (-12) fired a final-round 68 to take third place among the individuals and help seventh-ranked Furman to a third place finish Wednesday in the final round of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional at the par-72, 6,342 yard Don Veller Seminole Golf Club in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Paladins, who will be making their third-straight and 19th overall NCAA Championship appearance, were part of an 18-team regional field that battled for a top six finish and a berth in the 24-team NCAA Championship, which will be held May 18-23 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  

Srinivasan, a native of Spartanburg, S.C., recorded two birdies on the front and made the turn at even par then tallied four additional birdies on the back, including consecutive birdies on No. 17 and No. 18, to finish in third place, marking her second top-5 regional finish in as many years.  She finished three strokes back of individual medalist Jennifer Kupcho (-15) of Wake Forest, who carded rounds of 70-64-67=201.  

Senior Jacqueline Bendrick (-7) finished under par for the third-consecutive day, marking the best three-round total of her career.  She tied for ninth after posting a 70 with five birdies on Wednesday.  Junior Haylee Harford (E) also carded a 70 in the final round, tying for 25th after recording five birdies, including back-to-back birdies on No. 14 and No. 15.

Senior Alice Chen (+2) scored a 75 with birdies on No. 3 and No. 17 in the final round, tying for 34th, and senior Reona Hirai (+13) finished in a tie for 76th after adding a 78 in round three. 

"I am extremely proud of this team for a third-place finish at the regional," said Furman head coach Jeff Hull, who won his second-straight SoCon Coach of the Year honor in 2018.  "It got close there a little bit, but they really persevered at the end and made a lot of birdies.  I am especially proud of Natalie and Jacqueline for third and ninth place finishes, respectively.  I am really excited to go to nationals and, hopefully, make it to match play with a chance to win a national championship."

Second-ranked Alabama (-33) shot 15-under to pace the field on Wednesday, taking the region championship by eight strokes over host Florida State (-25), who entered the tournament ranked 28th.  The Paladins (-18) finished in third place, followed by tenth-ranked Arizona (-11), and No. 15 Washington (-10).  No. 18 Wake Forest (-5) and 29th-ranked Clemson (-5) tied for sixth, with the Demon Deacons winning a playoff to clinch the final championship spot.

Furman, which secured the Southern Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by capturing its 17th SoCon Championship last month at Moss Creek Country Club on Hilton Head Island, S.C., made its fourth-consecutive and 22nd overall NCAA Regional appearance.  The Paladins appeared in 18-straight regionals from 1993, when the regional format began, until 2010.  Furman finished second last season at the NCAA Lubbock Regional in Lubbock, Texas, and went on to place 12th at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Julie Paré, Furman Sports Information

 

3 Furman 280 283 283 846 -18

3 Natalie Srinivasan 65 71 68 204 -12

T9 Jacqueline Bendrick 71 68 70 209 -7

T25 Haylee Harford 75 71 70 216 E

T34 Alice Chen 70 73 75 218 +2

T76 Reona Hirai 74 77 78 229 +13