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Flames Hold Clubhouse Lead Following Day 1 at BSC Men's Golf Championship
No. 1 seed Liberty was able to survive a blustery afternoon and finish atop the 10-team leaderboard following first-round action at the 2013 Big South Men's Golf Championship at The Patriot Golf Club.
As the winds picked up during the later parts of the round, the scores on the par-72, 7,120-yard quickly rose. No. 1 seed Liberty, No. 2 Coastal Carolina and No. 3 seed Winthrop finished a combined 37-over par over the final five holes of the opening day, with only two total birdies coming from the best programs in the league.
The Flames were able to emerge from the final five-hole stretch with the least amount of damage, as Liberty was a combined eight-over par among its starting five golfers.
Coastal Carolina nearly doubled Liberty's final five-hole scoring total with a 15-over par, while Winthrop was one better than the Chanticleers at a combined 14-over par.
Liberty's ability to hang on during the home stretch allows the Flames to continue their string of holding the tournament lead. Liberty has now led the Big South Men's Golf Championship during each of the championship's last seven rounds of golf.
Entering tomorrow's second round, Liberty holds a two-stroke edge over Coastal Carolina. The Flames carded a six-over par 294, while the Chanticleers finished with an eight-over par 296. The two programs have combined to win the last nine Big South titles.
Winthrop is in third place following an 11-over par 299. Radford and Campbell round out the top five programs in the field, as they are tied for fourth place with a 16-over par 304.
Only two golfers in the 50-man field were able to post scores in red figures, with Liberty's Max McKay leading the way with a two-under par 70.
The senior, playing in his final conference championship event, birdied both of the par-5 holes on the front side of the course and posted another birdie on the par 4 No. 10 hole. McKay's lone blemish on the day was a bogey on the lengthy par 3 No. 17 hole (211 yards). He finished the day with his second lowest 18-hole total of the season.
McKay holds a one-stroke edge over Coastal Carolina's Sebastian Soderberg, the field's top ranked individual golfer at No. 38 in the country (Golfstat).
The other Top 100 golfer in the field finished just behind Soderberg and shares third place alongside Winthrop's Cameron Bell. Liberty's Chase Marinell, currently ranked No. 76 by Golfstat, opened this year's Big South championship event with an even par 72 thanks to a chip-in birdie on the closing No. 18 hole.
Marinell, who has now played four of his seven career rounds in the event at par or better, offset bogeys at No. 2, 9 and 15 with birdies at No. 6, No. 8 and the final hole.
Mathieu Fenasse is currently tied for 11th place following a three-over par 75. The sophomore had gotten his overall score to one-under par after birding three out of the last five holes on the front side of the course. However, four second-half bogeys dropped the sophomore back into a four-way tie for 11th place.
Ian McConnell was Liberty's final team-scoring golfer of the day, opening the Big South event with a five-over par 77 to share 24th place overall.
The junior overcame an early double bogey on the par-4, No. 2 hole with five straight pars and a birdie at the par-4, No. 8 hole. However, a bogey on the par-4, No. 9 hole was the first of three additional over-par holes that he carded during the remainder of the round to finish with his highest score in four career rounds of golf at The Patriot Golf Club.
Niklas Lindstrom, fresh off a fourth-place finish at Texas' Morris Williams Invitational and his fourth Big South Player of the Week honor, struggled out of the gates and had a hard time catching up.
The junior drove his first two shots off the tee at No. 1 out of bounds and started his day with a quadruple-bogey eight. The junior's woes continued on the next three holes where he bogeyed No. 2 and 4 and double bogeyed No. 3 to stand eight-over after four holes of golf.
Lindstrom was able to make some swing adjustments and get back to seven-over par on two separate occasions, but he was three-over during the final five holes of play to finish up with a 10-over par 82 to tie his second-highest career 18-hole total.
Liberty will once again be paired up with golfers from Coastal Carolina and Winthrop during tomorrow's second round action.
Lindstrom will lead the way for the Flames, teeing off at 9:20 from the No. 1 tee, followed by McConnell (9:30), Fenasse (9:40), Marinell (9:50) and McKay (10:00) in 10-minute intervals.
Live scoring will once again be provide from Golfstat, while @LibertyFlames (Liberty's official Twitter feed) will be on the course providing more in-depth updates as its follows one of Liberty's five golfers. The Flames will look to widen their lead as they search for their third-straight Big South title.