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Golf Controls Day One at Rees Jones Invitational
Four of Liberty's starting golfers hold the top five spots after two rounds at the Rees Jones Invitational on Monday, with Ian McConnell leading the way.
The Flames opened the two-day, 54-hole event, hosted by South Carolina, with their low round of the season, a four-under par 284. Following a two-over 290 during the afternoon flight, Liberty holds a commanding 17-stroke lead over second-place South Carolina.
The Flames lead the 12-team field with a two-under par 574 (284-290), followed by South Carolina, which is in second place with a 15-over par 591 (295-296).
Three other Big South programs are among the dozen teams competing at the par-72, 7,380-yard Haig Point Golf Course.
Winthrop leads the trio of fellow league members and is in third place overall with an 18-over par 594 (293-301). Charleston Southern is in ninth place with a 40-over par 616 (315-301) and Presbyterian College is in 12th place with a 69-over par 645 (330-315).
Following Winthrop on the 12-team leaderboard is East Carolina, which is in fourth place with a 25-over par 601 (298-303) and fifth-place Charlotte, following a 26-over par 602 (306-296).
McConnell opened the event by tying his career low 18-hole total, posting a four-under par 68. Twice the junior has matched the same score, once as a freshman and another time as a sophomore. He had six birdies and two bogeys during the morning flight.
He followed with a two-over par 74 during the afternoon and holds a one-stroke lead over the 63-man field with a two-under par 142 (68-74).
Fellow teammate Niklas Lindstrom is the player one shot behind him, as the junior will enter the final round following a one-under par 143 (73-70). During the afternoon, Lindstrom carded three birdies and a bogey to be the only other player in red figures following 36 holes.
South Carolina's Dykes Harbin breaks up the run of Liberty golfers at the top of the leaderboard, as he shares third place with an even par 144 (73-71).
Sharing third place with Harbin is Liberty's Max McKay, who also had an even par 144 (72-72). The pair of level par rounds saw the senior card four birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey during the morning flight, to two bogeys and two birdies during the afternoon round.
Completing Liberty's dominant day at the course was Chase Marinell, who is in fifth place with a one-over par 145 (71-74). The junior was in red figures following a one-under par 71 to open the event, but fell back to fifth place after a three-over par 74 afternoon round that saw him card two birdies and four bogeys.
Liberty's final golfer in the field is sophomore Mathieu Fenasse, who is tied for 36th place with an 11-over par 155 (78-77).
When the Flames return to the Haig Point Golf Course in the morning, Liberty will be seeking to close out its 22nd Division I team victory in program history and the first since the Flames won the NCAA Greensboro Regional, last May.