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Flames in Third Place Following Rees Jones Opening Day

September 22, 2013
|  Daufuskie Island, S.C.
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The Flames carded a three-over par 291 to open the 2013 Rees Jones Invitational and remain in contention to defend their title from last year's event.

In 2012, Liberty recorded the program's 22nd team tournament title, winning by 24 strokes over East Carolina and 26 strokes over tournament host South Carolina.

This year's event, once again being contested at the Haig Point Golf Course (par 72, 7,380 yards), is led after the opening round by USF, the tournament's lone team in red figures.

The Bulls opened the three-day, 54-hole event with a two-under par 286 and hold a four-stroke lead over Kennesaw State, who posted a two-over par 290.

Liberty shares third place with Charlotte, who also carded a three-over par 291. UNCW rounds out the top five teams in the 12-team field following an eight-over par 296. East Carolina and South Carolina share sixth place after a 10-over par 298.

Eight players in the 69-man field managed to break par on Sunday, led by USF's Chase Koepka, who erased an early bogey with five birdies during his closing 11 holes to post a four-under par 68.

East Carolina's Al Dickens, Kennesaw State's Chris Guglielmo and Charlotte's Raoul Menard each share second place following a two-under par 70 opening round.

Liberty does have one of the four golfers who carded a one-under par 71 in Michael Hocker, but the sophomore is competing in the event as an individual and does not count toward the team score. The sophomore used back-to-back birdies on holes No. 13 and 14 to get to two-under, but gave a shot back on the closing No. 18 hole to card his fourth career sup-par round.

As a team, the Flames are paced by Niklas Lindstrom and Mathieu Fenasse, who both opened the event with even par rounds of 72 and share ninth place overall.

Lindstrom, who individually won last year's event, quickly regained his winning form to open the day with three front nine birdies to make the turn at three-under par. However, he had four bogeys and a birdie on the closing nine to finish at level par.

Fenasse, playing in his first collegiate round of the season, opened his year with a birdie on the par-4, 410-yard No. 1 hole. The junior dropped back to one-over after bogey at No. 13, but was able to birdie the closing No. 18 hole to get back to a par 72 on the day.

Chase Marinell is one shot behind his teammates and shares 16th place overall with a one-over par 73. The senior was one-under after 10 holes, but went double bogey-birdie-bogey following by five-straight pars to close out the round.

After a tough opening seven holes, Ian McConnell was able to grind his way back to finish just one shot behind Marinell with a two-over par 74. The senior found himself five-over after seven holes, but was able to close with five birdies and two bogeys to climb back up the leaderboard.

Liberty's final golfer in the field is Harrison Winger, who is tied for 55th place following a seven-over 79. The sophomore started the day with a birdie on No. 1, but closed with six bogeys, a double bogey and 10 pars.

Liberty will begin its second round action on the par-4, 454-yard No. 10 hole tomorrow, along with golfers from South Carolina and USF beginning at 9:40 a.m. Live stats via Golfstat will continue to be available for the final two rounds of the 2013 Rees Jones Invitational.