Junior Taylor Totland (+1) carded an even 72 Monday to tie for 20th as an individual in the final round of stroke play at the 2016 NCAA Championships at the par 72, 6,369 yard Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore.
Totland, who becomes the first Paladin to finish in the top 20 at the national championships since Jennifer Perri placed 18th in 2000, scored four birdies on the back nine, including three-consecutive birdies on No. 15, 16, and 17, to finish the four rounds with a 1-over (76-72-69-72—289). Duke’s Virginia Elena Carta (-16) won the individual title after scoring under par each day at (69-68-66-69—272).
With eight teams advancing to tomorrow’s match play, third-ranked UCLA (-8) concluded stroke play in first place, three strokes ahead of No. 12 Stanford (-5). Second-ranked Southern California (-2) is third, followed by 13th-ranked Washington (E) in fourth. No. 15 Virginia (+3) completes the top five, with fifth ranked Duke (+6), No. 18 South Carolina (+10), and 20th-ranked Oregon (+14) claiming the last three spots for match play.
“I thought Taylor did a good job of fighting through a day when she didn’t quite have her best stuff,” said Furman head coach Kelley Hester, the 2016 Southern Con Coach of the Year. “She made some good saves early and then was able to hang in there and make some birdies coming in to have a solid, even-par round. It’s a big deal to finish in the top 20 at the national championship!”
The 19th-ranked Paladins, who placed 20th in Sunday’s third round, were part of a 24-team field that played under the NCAA Championship’s revised format, which was instituted last year. The teams played 54 holes of stroke play over the course of three days, concluding with Sunday’s round. The top 15 teams moved on to one additional round of stroke play, which was held Monday. The top eight teams at the end of Monday’s round now move into the match-play single elimination bracket. Tuesday will feature the quarterfinals and semifinals, and the finals will be played Wednesday afternoon.
The Paladins, who secured the Southern Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by capturing their 15th SoCon Championship last month at Savannah Quarters Golf Club in Savannah, Ga., finished fourth at the NCAA Bryan Regional to earn a berth at the NCAA Championship. The Paladins last reached the NCAA Championship in 2008, when Furman claimed an eighth place finish at the NCAA East Regional in Athens, Ga., to advance to the NCAA Championship in Albuquerque, N.M.