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Flames in Fourth Place Following Day One Action
A pair of similar rounds have the Flames in the top third of the field at the SunTrust Gator Invitational, following the opening 36 holes of action on Saturday.
Liberty (290-288), ranked No. 30 by Golfweek and No. 35 by Golfstat, shares fourth place with No. 20/17 Florida State (285-293) after both teams opened with an 18-over par 578.
Leading the way in the star-studded field is No. 2/2 Auburn, who opened with an even par 560 (279-281) on the par-70, 6,704-yard Mark Bostic Golf Course. The event's 14-team field includes 10 Top 50 programs, including a pair of Top 10 ranked teams.
Tournament host No. 33/33 Florida is five shots off the pace after opening its home event with a five-over par 565 (278-287). Over the tournament's 31-year history, the Gators have dominated the event, capturing 24 team titles and 11 medalist honors.
The final team ahead of Liberty going into the last day of competition is No. 9/8 Arkansas, who is one shot ahead of the Flames following a 17-over par 577 (288-289) score.
Three teams ranked higher than the Flames coming into the event are below Liberty heading into the final 18 holes of play.
No. 19/21 UCF is in sixth place, following a 22-over par 582 (291-291), No. 29/29 UAB is in seventh place with a 26-over par 586 (294-292) and No. 12/12 North Florida slipped down the leaderboard during the second round to 11th place with a 32-over par 592 (290-302).
A total of four golfers in the 75-man field were able to find red figures, led by Auburn's Dominic Bozzelli. Thanks to nine birdies on the day, the Tigers' top golfer, who is ranked No. 18 in the latest Golfweek rankings, holds a five-stroke lead after carding an eight-under par 132 (68-64).
Hometown favorite T.J. Vogel, who is ranked No. 7 currently, is in second place following a three-under par 137 (66-71).
Rounding out the field's Top 5 golfers are Florida State's Chase Seifert (68-71) and Mississippi State's Chad Ramey (68-71). They share third place with a one-under par 139, while Auburn's Michael Herbert is in fifth place with an even par 140 (70-70).
Liberty's Robert Karlsson, ranked No. 23 in the country coming into the event, is in a logjam at sixth place following a one-over par 141 (69-72).
Karlsson, who leads the field in par-3 scoring at two-under par, opened the event with his seventh round of the season at or below par with a one-under 69. A string of three straight birdies on holes No. 10, 11 and 12 got him back to level par on the afternoon field, but the senior dropped two shots before getting into the clubhouse to card his two-over par 72 score.
Three Liberty golfers find themselves among seven total golfers sharing 27th place with a seven-over par 147.
Max McKay rebounded from a tough morning round of seven-over par 77 to card his second-best 18-hole total of the season during the afternoon. The junior was steady throughout his second round on the par-70 course, offsetting two birdies with two bogeys.
Ian McConnell found the last four holes on the 6,704-yard Mark Bostic trek much more to his liking than the first 14 holes. The sophomore was a combined 10-over on the opening 14 holes, but was able to card three birdies on the closing four holes to share 27th place after Saturday's 36 holes of competition.
Mathieu Fenasse, playing for just his second time on head coach Jeff Thomas' starting five, opened with a two-over par 72. However, the afternoon flight saw the French-born freshman add three more strokes to his card after two birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey on the par-5, No. 3 hole finished off his five-over par 75.
Chase Marinell trails three of his teammates by just one shot and stands in 34th place with an eight-over par 148 (75-73). One of three Liberty golfers to improve during the second round, the sophomore overcame a third bogey on the par-4, No. 9 hole with two birdies and two bogeys to finish his afternoon round with a three-over par 73.
Due to the threat of frost overnight, Sunday's tee times have been moved to a 10 a.m. start time. The now shotgun third-round start will have Liberty opening up on holes No. 4-7 alongside a pair of "Sunshine State" programs in No. 20/17 Florida State and No. 19/21 UCF.