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Flames Finish NCAA Austin Regional Tied for 11th Place
No. 8 seed Liberty tied its lowest team score at a regional in program history on Wednesday, finishing the 2017 NCAA Austin Regional tied for 11th place.
The Flames carded a 4-under par 280 during the event's final round, 25 shots better than they scored on the same University of Texas Golf Club (par 71, 7,355 yards) on Tuesday.
Liberty's 280 matches the program's best 18-hole team score at an NCAA Regional. The 2011 team opened play at the NCAA Arizona Regional with a 280 at the Omni Tucson National Golf Resort (par 71, 7,199 yards) in Tucson, Ariz.
The Flames finished the NCAA Austin Regional tied for 11th place with a 27-over par 879 (294-305-280), sharing 11th place with No. 10 seed Georgia Southern (295-292-292).
The 11th-place finish wraps up Liberty's 2016-17 season which saw the Flames advance to NCAA Regional play for the sixth time in the last seven years.
Liberty earned its fourth at-large bid into NCAA Regional play (2003, 2006, 2013 and 2017), the most at-large selections of any athletics program at Liberty in the Division I era.
No. 1 seed Oklahoma State was one of three teams to post a double digit, under-par score on Wednesday, allowing the top seed at the Austin Regional to claim the team title. The Cowboys carded a 14-under par 270, today, and won by two strokes with an overall score of 13-under par 839 (287-282-270).
Tournament host and No. 3 seed Texas finished in second place with an 11-under par 841 (277-288-276) on its home course. No. 9 seed Iowa State had the most impressive finish of the regional, carding a 21-under par 263 on Wednesday to finish in third place with an overall 7-under par 845 (290-292-263).
No. 4 seed Ole Miss took fourth place with a 2-over par 854 (282-294-278). No. 5 seed Arizona State claimed the final coveted place in the field, finishing in fifth place with a 7-over par 859 (290-293-276) to secure the last berth to the national championship.
The top five teams following play on Wednesday advanced to the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship, May 26-31, at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill.
No. 2 seed Wake Forest finished in sixth place, four shots out of fifth place with an 11-over par 863 (294-293-276).
Less wind and an overnight rain softened up the course, allowing for lower scores all around on Wednesday. The course played at a 71.19 stroke average during the final round, as compared to a 74.35 average on Monday and a 74.96 average on Tuesday.
Iowa State's Nick Voke played a large role in his team's 21-under play on Wednesday. He carded a 10-under par 61 to claim individual medalist honors with a winning score of 14-under par 199 (71-67-61).
Wake Forest's Will Zalatoris finished tied for fifth place with a 3-under par 210 (69-72-69) to secure an individual bid to the national championship. The ACC Player of the Year finished as the top individual player not on one of the top five teams to earn his ticket to the next round.
Liberty's Isaiah Logue finished four shots behind Zalatoris and led the Flames with a 1-over par 214 (69-75-70), sharing 18th place with McNeese State's Blake Elliott (73-73-68).
Logue, who started on the back nine for the final round of his junior year, opened with eight pars in a row until an errant approach shot at the par-4, No. 18 hole (495 yards) cost him his first stroke of the day.
However, the Fairfield, Pa., native quickly got the stroke back, sticking a short iron to six feet at No. 1 (par 4, 370 yards) and making birdie. Two holes later, Logue had another nice approach at the lengthy par-4, No. 3 hole (493 yards) and he was able to get into red figures on the day after sinking a seven footer for birdie.
A bad approach at the dogleg right No. 6 hole (par 4, 406 yards) dropped Logue back to level par for the day after he could not get up and down for par from the right brush behind the green.
The junior closed his third year with the Flames nearly reaching the green in two at No. 9 (par 5, 605 yards), allowing him to close with a birdie following a chip to seven feet below the hole.
Logue's short game around the green was on point on Wednesday, as the junior only hit 7-of-18 greens, but finished with 23 putts thanks to one-putting 13 holes. Off the tee, Logue was able to hit 12-of-14 fairways.
Kieran Vincent closed out his rookie season at Liberty with a 2-under par 69 and finished his first career regional tied for 28th place with a 5-over par 218 (74-75-69). On the day, he posted three birdies and one bogey, finishing the event tied with Gabe Lench for the team lead in total birdies (10).
Lench finished three shots back of Vincent, tied for 38th place with an 8-over par 221 (74-76-71). The sophomore's second career round at par or better at a NCAA Regional saw him record five birdies, a bogey and two double bogeys on Wednesday.
Mickey DeMorat closed his junior year with his 15th round at par or better this season. He fired a 1-under par 70 to finish in 62nd place with a 14-over par 227 (78-79-70). He led the Flames on the day with six birdies to go along with three bogeys and a double bogey.
Payton Taylor rounded out Liberty's players at the NCAA Austin Regional. The junior carded his lowest individual score in six career NCAA Regional rounds, a two-over par 74, to finish the event in 71st place with a 21-over par 234 (77-83-74).
Photos provided by Brendan Maloney: