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Flames in Third Place in Spring Opening Event
The Flames shaved 10 strokes off their morning round and posted the event's third-best afternoon round to climb into third place after 36 holes of action at the JU Invitational on Monday.
The event, Liberty's opening tournament of the spring season, features five Top 50 programs, including No. 1 Florida, which leads the event by 17 strokes over the 15-team field.
The Gators carded consecutive sub-par rounds and stand atop the leaderboard with a seven-under par 569 (286-283).
North Florida stands in second place after the Ospreys rebounded during the afternoon flight. After carding a 14-over par 300 during the morning, North Florida tried to match strides with the Gators by carding a two-under par 286 to post a 36-hole, 10-over par 586.
The Flames effort to follow suite got off to a tough start in the afternoon. Liberty started the shotgun round on holes No. 15-18, with the Flames dropping a combined seven shots on the par-4 closing No. 18 hole.
However, No. 42 Liberty slowly rebounded en route to its 10-shot improvement, thanks to 16 birdies over the closing holes. By day's end, the Flames found themselves in third place with a 14-over par 590 (300-290).
Among the 12 teams trailing Liberty, North Florida and Florida are No. 21 Wake Forest, who is in fifth place with a 21-over par 597 (301-296), No. 40 Clemson, who is in seventh place with a 24-over par 600 (303-297) and No. 43 East Carolina, who is in eighth place with a 27-over par 603 (305-298).
Florida's Bank Vongvanij, the nation's No. 1 ranked golfer, currently leads the 75-man field after firing back-to-back rounds of 69 and stands three shots clear with a six-under par 138.
Wake Forest's Evan Beck, ranked No. 18 in the country, is in second place with a three-under par 141 (71-70), followed by three Top 50 golfers, who are tied for third with a one-under par 143.
Liberty's Robert Karlsson, who ranks No. 89 in the nation, is one of two golfers who are tied for sixth place with an even par 144. The reigning Big South Golfer of the Year fired back-to-back rounds of 72.
The Flames third-place standing was due in part to a career second round by Stephen Dooley. After opening with a bogey on the No. 18 hole, the senior responded with six birdies and a bogey over the closing holes, including a birdie two on the famous No. 17 island green at the TPC-Sawgrass Stadium Course.
Dooley finished second round with a four-under par 68 and currently stands tied for 10th place with a two-over par 146 (78-68), thanks to a 10-stroke personal turnaround.
Liberty's Preston Dembowiak (77-74) and Max McKay (75-76) are tied for 27th place with a seven-over par 151. Andrew Colvin rounds out Liberty's golfers at the event. The sophomore is tied for 39th place with a 10-over par 154 (76-78).
The Flames, along with the remaining 14 teams in the field, will return to par-72, 6,900 Stadium Course, host of the PGA's THE PLAYERS Championship each May, for the final 18 holes of competition tomorrow.