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Flames in Ninth Place Following First Round NCAA Regional Action

May 16, 2013
|  Fayetteville, Ark.
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Mathieu Fenasse currently leads the Flames at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional, as the sophomore is tied for 11th place following an even-par round of 72.

The closing nine holes at The Blessings Golf Course proved to be difficult for the Flames during opening round action at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional, causing the Flames to finish the day tied for ninth place.

No. 7 seed Liberty seemed to be in good position to remain in the upper half of the 14-team leaderboard, as the Flames made the turn at two-over par. However, the second nine was a different story for Liberty, as the Flames' five golfers finished the second half of their first round a combined 16-over par to fall to ninth place.

Liberty currently shares ninth place with round one playing partner and No. 8 seed Tulsa and No. 13 seed Missouri-Kansas City. All three programs carded rounds of 15-over par 303.

No. 6 seed Illinois had its team score down to 11-under par midway through the first round on the par-72, 7,251-yard course but fell back a few strokes. The Big Ten Conference champions lead the 14-team field following a six-under par 282.

No. 1 seed and defending national champion Texas is in second place with a three-under par 285, followed by No. 3 seed Oklahoma State, who is in third place with a two-under par 286.

No. 5 seed Kent State is in fourth place following an even par round of 288, while regional host and No. 2 seed Arkansas holds the coveted fifth place spot following the first round after a two-over par 290 on its home course.

Following 36 additional holes of play, the top five programs in the field will advance to play in the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship in Atlanta, Ga., later this month at the Capital City Club (Crab Apple Course). Liberty enters the second round 13 shots behind the Razorbacks and their fifth place position.

Illinois has two of the 10 golfers who finished the first day in red figures, guided by bogey-free play of Charlie Danielson. Illinois' No. 5 golfer posted seven birdies, including three-straight to close out his opening nine holes, and current leads the 75-man field following a seven-under par 65.

Kent State's Corey Conners and Oklahoma State's Jordan Niebrugge share second place with a five-under par 67, followed by Illinois' Thomas Detry, who is in fourth place with a four-under par 68.

Liberty's top golfer of the day was reigning Big South medalist Mathieu Fenasse, who was one of nine golfers to finish the day with an even par 72 score.

The sophomore, who is coming off his first individual collegiate victory at the Big South Men's Golf Championship last month, offset three bogeys with three birdies during his opening round.

After a bogey at the dogleg left No. 6 hole, Fenasse posted birdies at No. 7 and 9 to make the turn at one-under par. He bogeyed the steep uphill par-4, No. 11 hole and traded a bogey at No. 16 for a birdie at the severe downhill par-3 No. 17 hole to wrap up his play on the day.

Chase Marinell is tied for 44th place following a four-over par 76, his highest 18-hole score in three different career NCAA Regional events.

The junior was even par through eight holes, but posted bogeys on holes No. 9, 12 and 14. He got one shot back with a birdie at the par-5, No. 16 hole, but posted a double bogey on the 241-yard No. 17 hole to slip to four-over on the day.

Ian McConnell is five spots down the leaderboard from Marinell, as the junior fired a five-over par 77 to share 49th place overall.

McConnell was unable to post any sub-par scores on the day, while carding bogeys on No. 6, No. 11, No. 16 and a double bogey on the par-3, No. 15 hole.

Max McKay, Liberty's lone senior on Coach Jeff Thomas' starting five, currently shares 52nd place following a six-over par 78, which is three shots higher than any of his previous two NCAA Regional appearances.

Much like the team, McKay grinded out play on the front nine with his lone blemish being a three-putt bogey on the par-4, dogleg left No. 7.

The inward nine would see McKay card three double bogeys, the first coming after he missed the fairway right off the tee at No. 11.

His second two-over par hole came at the 90-degree dogleg right No. 13, as he had an errant drive left, followed by him striking a tree with his approach and three-putting the two-tiered green.

The senior could have added a third double bogey on the par-5, No. 12 hole after a mud ball caused his second shot to go deep into the woods. However, McKay was able to recover and snake in a downhill, 14-foot par saving putt on the hole.

McKay posted his first under par score of the day after reaching the No. 16 green in two and two putting for a birdie on the par-five hole.

On the home hole, McKay mishit his drive, and lost a ball left and had to settle for his third double bogey of the day and an opening regional round at six-over par.

Liberty's final golfer in the field is Niklas Lindstrom, who is tied for 65th place following a nine-over par 81.

The junior struggled out of the gates with bogeys on No. 2 and 3. He followed with a six-hole stretch at the turn with three bogeys and two double bogeys and was never able to recover during the remainder of the round.

The nine-hole stretch that caused the Flames to slip down the leaderboard will be its opening nine holes during second round action on Friday.

Liberty will return to The Blessings Golf Course tomorrow and play their second 18 holes, starting at the short par-3 No. 10 hole at 8 a.m. (CST). Liberty will be paired with golfers from SMU (nine-over par/297) and UNC Wilmington (12-over par/300).

Live stats will once again be provided by Golfstat.com, while @LibertyFlames (Liberty's official Twitter account) will be on the course providing additional coverage of one of Liberty's five golfers as the Flames look to rebound following today's action.