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Liberty Tied for 9th Place after Second Round of Regionals

May 17, 2016  Albuquerque, N.M.  RSS
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Liberty's Mickey DeMorat is currently tied for 20th place heading into the final round at the NCAA Albuquerque Regional.

Liberty's Mickey DeMorat is currently tied for 20th place heading into the final round at the NCAA Albuquerque Regional.

No. 11 seed Liberty will be tied for ninth place heading into the final round of the 2016 NCAA Albuquerque Regional after a blustery day on Tuesday.

The Flames carded a 31-over par 319, Liberty's highest 18-hole team score in the program's seven NCAA Regional appearances.

Play on the Championship Course at the University of New Mexico (par 72, 7,562 yards) proved to be challenging throughout the day with sustained winds at 15-20 MPH and wind gusts at 20-plus MPH.

During the second round of play, the course played at a stroke average of 79.91, four-plus shots higher than yesterday's opening round. The scoring average at the Albuquerque Regional was the highest of the six NCAA Regional events contested on Tuesday.

Following two rounds of Regional play, Liberty (297-319) is tied for ninth place with Iowa (302-314) with both teams carding a 40-over par 616.

The Flames and the Hawkeyes find themselves 13 shots off the coveted fifth-place spot, currently held by Texas A&M, with a 27-over par 603 (296-307). The top five teams at the end of play on Wednesday will advance to the 2016 NCAA Men's Golf Championship in Eugene, Ore. (May 27 – June 1).

Arizona State was the lone team in the 14-team field to not shoot a team score that was double digits over par. The Sun Devils (286-296-582) fired an impressive 8-over par 296 on Tuesday and will enter tomorrow's final round of competition with a commanding 15-stroke lead.

TCU currently sits in second place with a 21-over par 597 (292-305), followed by South Florida's 24-over par 600 (289-311) and USC's 26-over par 602 (291-311).

Arizona State's Jon Rahm, the No. 3 ranked golfer in the country, backed up his national ranking today by carding a 1-under par 71. He currently leads the 75-man field by four strokes with an overall 4-under par 140 (69-71).

USC's Sean Crocker (70-74) and TCU's Ryan Books (70-74) share second place with an even par 144. Arizona State's Jared duToit stands in fourth place with a 1-over par 145 (72-73).

Liberty's Mickey DeMorat had one of the better rounds of the day, carding a 4-over par 76 to move 20 spots up on the leaderboard to a share of 20th place with an overall 8-over par 152 (76-76). Only 10 golfers in the field had better scores than DeMorat during the second round.

Liberty started play once again at No. 10 (par 4, 517 yards) and DeMorat was at 1-over par following birdies at No. 17 (par 4, 377 yards) and No. 1 (par 5, 544 yards). However, the sophomore posted a bogey at the challenging uphill No. 5 hole (par 4, 492 yards) and a double bogey at the long par-3 No. 8 holes (267 yards). Both holes were near the top part of the golf course, catching more wind than the rest of the course that plays at 5,300 feet above sea level.

Gabe Lench is currently tied for 28th place with a 9-over par 153 (71-82) following an 11-stroke swing from the Big South All-Freshman golfer's opening round on Monday.

The rookie once again got off to a tough start, dropping six shots in his first five holes of play, including back-to-back double bogeys at No. 13 (par 4, 506 yards) and No. 14 (par 5, 595 yards).

Lench stuck his approach to three feet at No. 17 (par 4, 377 yards) to record what would prove to be his lone birdie on the day.

The rookie had chances to continue to get strokes back due to his length on the next two holes, both par-5 holes. However, difficult rough around the green at No. 18 and a greenside bunker at No. 1 kept him from lowering his score.

His 150-yard approach shot at No. 2 (par 4, 454 yards) was three feet over the pin, but he tried to battle the wind and was too firm on his birdie putt attempt. With the wind gusts picking up during his final seven holes of play, Lench dropped five additional shots.

Lench was impressive off the tee, battling the wind to find 8-of-14 fairways on Tuesday. However, the freshman only hit 5-of-18 greens in regulation and had 29 total putts.

Isaiah Logue dropped to 35th place with a 10-over par 154 (74-80). Logue tied DeMorat and Hutson Chandler on the day with two birdies apiece.

Chandler is tied for 48th place with a 13-over par 157 (76-81). The sophomore's highlight of the day was posting an eagle at the par-5 No. 1 hole.

Rounding out Liberty's golfers in the field is Payton Taylor, who is tied for 63rd place with an 18-over par 162 (76-86).

For the third day in a row, Liberty will be sent off the No. 10 tee, as the Flames will be paired with New Mexico and Texas Tech during the final round of play. The group will be the first off the back nine tees, starting at 7:30 a.m. (local time).