Men's teams take Second Flight title, 23rd in Championship
April 19, 2014 | North Augusta, S.C.
Joses Merat placed 18th individually and Liberty University's men's disc golf team finished 23rd as a team, the Flames' highest-ever finish in the Championship Flight, Wednesday through Friday in extremely wet and windy conditions at the National Collegiate Disc Golf Championships in North Augusta, S.C.
Merat, a graduate student who also serves as an assistant coach, was the only member of the Flames to qualify for the advanced finals by placing in the top 28 through two rounds of singles play. He finished at 3-over-par 164 (55-62-47) on the Hippodrome Disc Golf Complex courses, earning second-team All-American honors.
Liberty totaled 648 throws, finishing 41 shots under par and just one behind Mississippi State (647), two behind Auburn (646), and four behind 20th-place Northern Iowa (644).
However, the most impressive performance of the tournament may have come from Liberty's Second Flight foursome, which finished first out of six teams at 38-over 763 to capture a national title, edging Texas State by two strokes to secure an automatic bid to the 2015 national tournament for Liberty's entire team.
"We accomplished our goal that we set out to come here and do, which was to earn a spot back to nationals for next year," Flames Head Coach Steve Bowman said. "Doing that for Second Flight team was huge. Now, we'll have that pressure off at the beginning of the season."
In the Second Flight, sophomore Caleb Nicol tied for fourth place individually at 17-over 142 (63-79) followed closely by senior Tyler Andrick (seventh, 18-over 143, 65-78), sophomore Carson Dortch (11th, 23-over 148, 70-78), and junior Kyle Hoppe (14th, 27-over 152, 70-82).
"They all did really well," Bowman said, noting they played doubles on all four courses. "Tyler (Andrick) had some really good drives and Caleb (Nicol) had some really good putts today."
Junior Lance Brown was Liberty's second-lowest finisher behind Merat in the Championship Flight, carding singles rounds of 55 and 71 for a 5-over-par 126 total that placed him 88th overall out of 158 players. Senior Devin Swartz followed in 96th position at 7-over 128 (62-66) and senior Luke Laubscher came in at 18-over 139 (63-76) for 142nd place.
The Lady Flames, meanwhile, took fourth out of six complete women's teams led by senior Melissa Truman's 10th-place individual score of 171 after two rounds of singles play. Junior Hannah Croke placed 16th at 179 and freshman Shelby Keith 25th at 201.
In the men's First Flight tournament, Liberty tied with Alabama for seventh out of 39 teams at 8-under-par 662, led by Jared Lebo's fourth-place individual showing at 6-under-115 (53-62) and Jarrod Goodhue, who tied for 30th out of 155 players at 4-over-125 (55-70).
Complete results are available online.