Ian McConnell fired his second-best career NCAA Regional round on Friday, posting a three-over par 73 at the Eugene Country Club.
No. 6 seed Liberty was poised to make a move up the leaderboard as it made the turn during Day Two of the NCAA Eugene Regional. However, the Flames struggled down the stretch and currently stand in 10th place with 18 holes left to play.
For the second day in a row, the Flames started play on the more difficult back nine and used their experience from yesterday to better their scores the second time around the Eugene Country Club's holes No. 10-18.
Following nine holes of action, Liberty was seven-over par, three shots better than the opening nine holes of play from yesterday's first round. With most of the leaders heading to the nine holes the Flames had just completed, Liberty was in position to move up the leaderboard.
However, the Flames' counting four golfers were 10-over par during the last nine holes, doubling up their score from yesterday's round on the Robert Trent Jones redesigned course.
If the Flames could have replicated or bettered their score from yesterday's final nine holes of play, Liberty could have moved closer to a top five standing, with 10 of the 13 teams in the regional field posting a double-digit over par score today.
The Flames carded a 17-over par 297 for the day and enter tomorrow's final round in 10th place with a 32-over par 592 (295-297).
With the top five teams in the regional field moving on to next week's NCAA Men's Golf National Championship event in Hutchinson, Kan., Liberty will now need to leapfrog five teams tomorrow to make their second trip to nationals in three years.
No. 2 seed Houston (290-293) and No. 9 seed North Florida (286-297) currently hold the coveted fifth-place position. The two teams are nine shots ahead of the Flames with a 23-over par 583 (286-297).
No. 1 seed Stanford widened its overall lead, posting the second-best team score of the day with a two-over par 282. The Cardinal is currently nine shots clear of the field, leading the 13-team tournament with a two-under par 558 (276-282).
No. 3 seed Oklahoma is in second place with a seven-over par 567 (280-287), followed by No. 7 seed and host Oregon. The Ducks carded the best round of the day on their home course, an even par 280, to move into third place with a nine-over par 569 (289-280).
Stanford's Patrick Rodgers, the No. 3 ranked player in the country by Golfstat, widened his individual overall lead thanks to his second sub-par round at the par-70, 6,990-yard course.
Rodgers leads the 75-man field as he is six shots clear of his next competitor with his seven-under par 133 (66-67).
A dozen golfers are currently within three shots of each other and will be vying for a runner-up position during tomorrow's final round.
Among the 12 players in the mix is Liberty's Niklas Lindstrom, who is tied for 10th place with a two-over par 142 (70-72).
The senior overcame back-to-back bogeys to open the day to make the turn at one-over par after a birdie on the short par-4, No. 17 hole (347 yards).
For the second day in a row, Lindstrom birdied the par-5, No. 6 hole to get back to one-over par. However, he dropped his sixth shot of the round with a three-putt bogey at No. 9.
Lindstrom's fellow seniors Chase Marinell (74-75) and Ian McConnell (76-73) share 37th place with a nine-over par 149.
Marinell was able to overcome a four putt at No. 16, the course's No. 1 hardest hole today, and had an opportunity to get back to level par with a 10-foot birdie try from pin high at the par-3, No. 5 hole (192 yards).
However, the senior pulled the putt and the 2014 Big South Men's Golfer of the Year pushed during his last four holes to make something happen where he posted a double bogey, two bogeys and a pair to slide down the individual leaderboard with his five-over par score today.
Marinell struggled during the day to find the shorter grass off the tee, hitting just 4-of-14 fairways. He still managed to hit 11-of-18 greens in regulation and finished his round with 33 total putts.
McConnell had his second-best round in three career NCAA Regional showings despite a par of double bogeys on the par-3, No. 12 and 5 holes. The senior came up short on his shot over the water at No. 5 to drop back to three-over par for the day.
Mathieu Fenasse, who is currently tied for 55th place with a 12-over par 152 (75-77), found similar struggles as McConnell at No. 5. The junior opened his back nine with a birdie at the shorter par-4, No. 1 hole (395 yards) to get back to three-over par for the day.
However, Fenasse had consecutive shots at No. 5 come up short and roll back into the water to post a quadruple bogey on his second-to-last par-3 hole of the day.
Liberty's final golfer in the field is senior Jacob Mast, who is tied for 72nd place with a 23-over par 163 (83-80). The senior made the turn at four-over par thanks to his first regional birdie at No. 17, but he had four more bogeys and a double bogey during his closing holes to post his second score in the 80s.
The Flames will return to the Eugene Country Club tomorrow morning, starting at 8:25 a.m. (PST) to once again tee off from the par-4, No. 10 hole (401 yards).
Liberty will be paired with golfers from No. 5 seed Baylor for the third-straight day and No. 12 seed Wichita State. Golfstat.com will continue to provide hole-by-hole scoring updates throughout the round tomorrow, while @LUGameDay will be on the course to provide more details updates on one of Liberty's five golfers.