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Flames Find Themselves in 10th Place
Liberty was one of seven teams to break 300 during the morning on the par 72, 6,931 yard TPC Louisiana course, site of the PGA Tour's annual Zurich Classic of New Orleans stop.
N.C. State, currently ranked No. 27 in the latest Golfweek national collegiate rankings, finished the morning flight one-stroke ahead of host New Orleans. The Wolfpack fired a two-under par 286, while the Privateers carded a one-under par 287.
Liberty found itself 13 shots off the pace after 18 holes, as the Flames finished Monday morning with an 11-over par 299.
The Flames found two of their five golfers in the Top 15, led by Robert Karlsson. The sophomore was one of eight to break par in the opening round with a two-under par 70. Freshman Max McKay followed behind Karlsson with a one-over par 73, which was nine shots behind San Diego's Alex Ching who fired a tournament record eight-under par 64.
During the second 18 holes, nine of the 15 teams were able to learn from their morning round to post improvements and move up the team leaderboard. However, Liberty did not show improvement in the afternoon session, dropping to 10th place after carding a 13-over par 301.
North Carolina State, New Orleans and San Diego continued to remain the top three programs at the tournament, but New Orleans and San Diego flipped positions on the leaderboard.
Aided by Brad Revell's second under-par round, who has himself in second place at five-under par (69-70-139), the Wolfpack was able to hang onto its first round lead. N.C. State will enter the final 18 holes with a two-stroke lead over San Diego, with a one-under par 575 (286-289).
Ching could not find the same touch during the afternoon flight, as his second round was 10 shots higher than the morning with a two-over 74. Despite the steep increase, Ching still leads the field by one shot with a six-under par 138 (64-74).
Ching's teammates picked up the slack for the golfer, enabling San Diego to move ahead of New Orleans into second place with a one-over par 577 (290-287). Host New Orleans is in third place with a two-over par 578 (287-291).
Liberty was looking to break 300 for the ninth time this season to keep pace with the rest of the field, but could not. The Flames fired a 13-over par 301 to drop to 10th place, with a 24-over par 576 (299-301).
Karlsson (70-75), who leads the field of 77 golfers by shooting three-under par on the par-four holes, found five more on his afternoon scorecard and is now tied with McKay (73-72) for 13th place at one-over par 145.
Preston Dembowiak fell from a tie for 25th place to a tie for 49th place after carding an eight-over par 80 during the second round for a two-round 11-over par total of 155 (75-80).
Liberty's remaining two golfers found improvement during the afternoon flight, starting with Stephen Dooley. The junior shaved seven strokes off his first 18 holes by carding a two-over par 74 during the afternoon to finish along with Dembowiak at 11-over par 155 (81-74).
Andrew Nelson also carded seven less strokes during the afternoon than the morning, but redshirt junior is still currently in 75th place with a 23-over par 167 (87-80).
The field of 77 golfers will reassemble for the final 18 holes on Tuesday morning, as the 15-team field will wrap up competition at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Mardi Gras Invitational. Liberty will be tying off the back nine on hole No. 10, as the Flames will be teamed up against Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Monroe.