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Golf Drops to 12th Place at NCAA Fayetteville Regional
Liberty was one of many teams to struggle during second round action at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional on Friday, leaving the Flames in 12th place heading into tomorrow's final round of play.
Only five teams in the 14-team regional field managed to break 300 on Friday, as The Blessings Golf Course proved to be a difficult trek. Play was delayed 30 minutes early in the morning for fog, but once the fog lifted, The Blessings' greens sped up and errant shots were penalized.
Liberty finished the day with a 25-over par 313, the team's highest 18-hole total since carding a 17-over par 315 during the opening of the 2010 Jacksonville Invitational at the famed TPC Sawgrass – Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Regional host and No. 2 seed Arkansas was the only team to fare well on the par-72, 7,251-yard course, posting a five-under par 283 on the day to take the overall lead.
The Razorbacks, playing on their home course since 2004, are currently ahead of first day leader and No. 6 seed Illinois by one stroke with 18 holes left to play. Arkansas stands atop the team leaderboard with a three-under par 573 (290-283), followed by Illinois' two-under par 574 (282-292).
Defending national champion and No. 1 seed Texas was 13 strokes worse than yesterday and stands in third place with a seven-over par 583 (285-298).
No. 3 seed Oklahoma State finished with 18 more strokes today than its first round score and holds down fourth place with a 14-over par 590 (286-304).
No. 5 seed Kent State, who experienced a 15-stroke difference in its score from the first to second round, holds down the coveted fifth place spot with a 15-over par 591 (288-303).
Following the conclusion of play tomorrow, the top five teams in the 14-team field will advance to play for the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship later this month at The Capital City Club in Atlanta, Ga.
No. 7 seed Liberty will enter the final round 25 strokes behind Kent State, as the Flames currently hold down 12th place with a 40-over par 616 (303-313).
Eleven of the 14 teams in the field posted higher scores on Friday, with the average increase for the 11 teams being nearly 11 strokes per team.
Individually, nine players were able to tame The Blessings Golf Course and post scores in red figures on Friday.
Three players sit atop the 75-player leaderboard, with each member of the three carding sub-par scores during the second round.
Sharing the clubhouse lead are SMU's Mario Clemens (70-70), hometown favorite Austin Cook from Arkansas (72-68) and Stephen F. Austin's Mitchell McLeroy (69-71). All three players finished the first 36 holes of play with a four-under par 140.
Following a bogey-free round of golf on Thursday, day one leader Charlie Danielson of Illinois had three double bogeys and two bogeys to go along with four birdies to drop to a share of sixth place with a one-under par 143 (65-78).
Liberty's top golfer in the field is Chase Marinell, who grinded out an even par round of 72 on Friday and currently shares 24th place with a four-over par 148 (76-72).
With Liberty opening up play on the short, par-3, No. 10 hole (139), Marinell got off to a quick start by sticking his opening shot pin high left and making the 10-foot birdie putt.
During the next six holes of play, Marinell would only card one par, but finished the six-hole stretch at even on the day after three bogeys and two birdies.
He saw his approach on the extreme uphill No. 11 hole spin back off the green and he could not get up-and-down for par, but rebounded with a nice wedge shot to leave a downhill birdie putt at the par-5, No. 12, which he made.
Following a par at the par-4, No. 13 hole, Marinell had two bad tee shots that cost him strokes on the next two holes. At No. 14, another uphill par-4, his drive found the woods left and he missed a six-foot par try from above the hole.
At No. 15, his second par-3 of the day, Marinell was on the wrong side of the green at the 178-yard hole and three putted for bogey.
He quickly got one of those shots back at the par-5, No. 16 hole, reaching the green in two and two putting from above the hole for birdie from 15 feet.
He had an errant drive right off the lofted tee box at the par-3, No. 17 hole (241 yards) that found the right bunker. However, his shot from the sand to within two feet that enabled him to walk away with a par seemed to settle him down.
Liberty's top golfer closed his second round with eight pars, offset by a birdie and a bogey. His solid play down the stretch was due in part to his ability to lag long putts close to the hole. The only time his putter failed him was on the par-4, No. 6 hole, as his approach left him on the wrong tier of the green and he had his second three putt of the day.
Marinell's final birdie on the day came at the course's longest hole, No. 2. He struck his approach on the par-5, 635-yard hole to 14 feet and found the center of the cup on his slightly uphill birdie putt.
Liberty's day one leader, Mathieu Fenasse, fell from a share of 11th place to a tie for 29th place following a five-over par 77. Fenasse (72-77) shares 29th place with two other golfers, as each stands at five-over par 149.
After bogeying three out of four holes, Fenasse was able to post a birdie at No. 16. However, the sophomore closed with nine pars, a double bogey at No. 3 and a bogey at No. 7 to post a score five shots higher than his opening round score.
Liberty's three remaining golfers each posted a score in the 80s, dropping each player down the individual leaderboard.
Ian McConnell shares 59th place with a 16-over par 160 (77-83). The junior was one-under after two holes of play, but double bogeys on No. 14, 15, 17 and 18 quickly changed the direction of his second round.
Lindstrom struggled out of the gates, carding bogey-triple bogey-bogey on his first three holes of play and was never able to recover.
McKay also got off to a difficult start, bogeying the first three holes, followed by double bogeys at No. 13 and 14 to stand at seven-over after five holes of play. He trimmed one shot back with a birdie at No. 16, but closed with two more bogeys and two additional double bogeys.
The Flames will return to The Blessings Golf Course, tomorrow morning, to begin final round action once again at the par-3, No. 10 hole. Liberty's golfers will begin to tee off at 8:20 (CST) and will be paired with golfers from Kentucky and Indiana.
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 during their final NCAA Regional round.