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Flames Close First Day at North Ranch Invite in Fourth Place

February 25, 2013
|  Westlake Village, Calif.
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Mathieu Fenasse carded his lowest 18-hole total of the season during the second round and is currently tied for sixth place heading into the final round of the North Ranch Intercollegiate.

Blustery afternoon conditions caused most team scores to raise quickly during the second round of the North Ranch Intercollegiate. The Flames were one of four teams to hang on down the stretch, allowing Liberty to cling to fourth place heading into tomorrow's final round.

Liberty, currently ranked No. 29 by Golfweek and No. 34 by Golfstat, led the 12-team field at the turn, but the ever-changing weather at the North Ranch Country Club forced higher scores as the afternoon flight came to a close.

The 54-hole event, co-hosted by No. 8/10 USC and Pepperdine, was delayed 30 minutes in the morning due to frost on the par-71, 6,753-yard trek. Skies cleared around midday and temperatures rose to almost 70 degrees on the desert course before the afternoon winds moved in.

Following 27 holes of play, Liberty was pacing the field with an aggregate one-over par score. However, the Flames were a combined 17-over par during their final nine holes of play and finished the round in fourth place with a 36-hole total of 12-over par 580 (285-295).

The Flames were not the only team to struggle during their second time around the course, as six of the 12 teams posted higher second-round scorecards than during the morning.

The only teams to survive the less than ideal late afternoon conditions were the hometown favorites.

USC currently leads the field by 10 strokes after carding a five-under par 279 during the second round. The Trojans sit atop the leaderboard with a four-under par 36-hole total of 564 (285-279).

Pepperdine (292-282) is tied with BYU (283-291) following a nine-stroke swing between the two programs during the second round. Both stand in second place with a six-over par 574, thanks in part to Pepperdine's two-under par 282 during the afternoon rounds.

Two of the top individually ranked golfers in the field lead the way, as No. 90 Sam Smith of USC stands atop the leaderboard with a six-under par 136 (65-71). His is followed closely behind by fellow teammate Yi Keun Chang (No. 50), who carded a four-under par 138 (70-68).

Rounding out the remaining golfers in red figures is BYU's Zachary Blair, who is in third place with a one-under par 141 (70-71).

The Flames had a pair of stellar individual rounds on Monday, allowing two of Liberty's starting five to enter the final round inside the Top 10 of the 69-man field.

Chase Marinell, who individually entered the event ranked No. 82 in the country by Golfweek, opened with his lowest 18-hole total of the season, a three-under par 68. The junior saw his score rise during the afternoon, but is still tied for fourth place with an even par 142 (68-74).

Mathieu Fenasse was the lone Flame to find success during the second round, carding a one-under par 70, while allowed him to climb into a share of sixth place with an overall one-over par 143 (73-70).

The sophomore's top 18-hole total of the season offset four bogeys with five birdies, including a stretch where the French golfer birdied three holes in a row and four out of five. 

Ian McConnell was Liberty's next best golfer, giving the Flames three golfers in the Top 20 as the junior currently is tied for 16th place with a four-over par 146 (72-74).

McConnell was in red figures for his second round after a birdie at the par 4 No. 10 hole; however, he only found one more birdie and five bogeys during his final 12 holes of the day to drop back down the leaderboard.

Liberty's final two golfers in the field are Niklas Lindstrom, who is tied for 30th place with a seven-over par 149 (72-77) and Max McKay, who shares 61st place with a 17-over par 159 (80-79).

Lindstrom did have seven birdies on the day, but they could not counter his seven bogeys, two doubles bogeys and a triple bogey. McKay was only able to circle one birdie on his card, posting a two on the par three No. 17 hole.

The Flames will close out play in the North Ranch Intercollegiate tomorrow with a final 18 holes of play. Liberty will head out with golfers from San Diego State (17-over par/294-291-585) and US Santa Barbara (25-over par/297-296-593) off the No. 1 tee, starting at 7:40 a.m. (PST).