OWENS CROSSROADS, Ala. --- Paige Harlin set a Tennessee State record during the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference Championships on Monday. The sophomore posted a 3-over, 75, marking the lowest score for a Tiger at an OVC Championship, besting Natalie Spicer’s 77 set in 2015.
The score bettered Harlin's career best by eight strokes, set at the PGA Minority Championships last spring. The score is also tied for the sixth lowest overall score in school history.
Harlin is currently tied for 13th and sits seven strokes out of the lead; one stroke out of the top 10. Linette Holmslykke of Murray State and Elsa Moberly of Eastern Kentucky share the lead at 4-under.
Harlin opened the day with a tap in birdie before recording eight consecutive pars. On the par-4, 1st, the Findlay, Ill. native pulled her tee shot left and had 170 yards to the green. On her second shot, Harlin hit a hybrid off the flag stick, dropping straight down and just missed falling into the cup, remaining inches from the hole.
The second-year began the back nine with a bogey on No. 10 to fall to Even, but returned to 1-under with a birdie on 12. Harlin remained at 1-under through 14 before running into trouble on the par-5, 15th. Harlin was tagged with a nine after finding the water twice. The Tiger bounced back by closing out the round with three consecutive pars.
Harlin capped off the round with an up-and-down on 18. She punched out of a side bunker to the middle of the green, catching a hill and turned down towards the hole, coming to a stop five feet from the hole to set up her 14th par of the day. The total was the second highest amount on the day.
Natalie Spicer and Morgan Rood with matching 11-over, 83’s, which has the duo tied for 34th in the field of 45. Spicer converted on three birdies on Monday. Her first birdies came on par-5, 3rd, as she stuck her second shot from 50 yards out to six feet of the hole, setting up a makeable putt. Spicer once again dropped an approach shot to six feet of the flag, this time on the par 4, 6th, for her second birdie of the day. Her final birdie came on the par-3, 8th, as she hit a hybrid off the box to four feet of the stick.
Rood highlighted her day with back-to-back birdies on nine and 10. Rood used a 7-iron to lay up on her second shot, at the par-5, 9th, to 95 yards out. The freshman followed up with a wedge shot to five feet and sank the downhill putt for birdie.
Haleigh Riley scored for the Tigers with a 92, while Savannah Szozda finished with a non-scoring 99.
TSU will enter the second day of the three day event in eighth place, holding a two stroke lead over Eastern Illinois. Szozda will be the first on the course at 8:00 a.m., followed by Riley at 8:10 a.m., Rood at 8:20 a.m., Spicer at 8:30 a.m. and Harlin at 8:40 a.m.
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