No. 4 seed Liberty will make its second appearance at the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship in program history after finishing in fifth place at the NCAA Athens Regional on Wednesday.
The Flames posted a score of 18-over par 870 (294-288-288) on the University of Georgia Golf Course (par 71, 7,253 yards).
With the top five teams advancing to next week's NCAA Men's Golf Championship at each of the six NCAA Regionals, the Flames cleared the cut line by three shots.
No. 6 seed Tennessee, who the Flames played all three regionals rounds with, finished in sixth place after carding a 21-over par 873 (290-295-288).
No. 9 seed Nevada also made a late push to advance to the national championship. However, the Wolfpack closed with three bogeys and a double bogey on their final hole to fall out of contention.
The 30 advancing teams from the six NCAA Regionals will convene next week at The Blessings Golf Course in Fayetteville, Ark., May 24-29.
Round Recap – Liberty's Starting Five: • No. 31 Ervin Chang: T10 1-over par 214 (74-68-72) • Kieran Vincent: T10 1-over par 214 (72-69-73) • No. 53 Gabe Lench: T22 4-over par 217 (73-73-71) • Alexandre Fuchs: T52 12-over par 225 (75-78-72) • Jonathan Yaun: T57 14-over par 227 (75-78-74)
Field Reflections: • No. 3 seed and tournament host Georgia claimed the Athens Regional title on its home course, carding an 8-under par 844 (284-280-280). • No. 2 seed Duke finished as the runner-up, closing the three-day event with a 1-under par 851 (289-276-286), while No. 1 seed Vanderbilt finished in third place with a 1-over par 853 (286-284-283). • No. 10 seed SMU finished two shots ahead of the Flames in fourth place with a 16-over par 868 (297-288-283). • Eight golfers in the 75-man field finished in red figures, with Georgia's Davis Thompson claiming medalist honors with a winning score of 8-under par 205 (69-69-67).
Birdies and Bogeys – Liberty Team Notes: • Liberty's fifth-place finish sends the Flames to the national championship for the second time in program history and the first since 2012. • The Flames finished in 10th place at the 2012 NCAA Men's Golf National Championship held at the famed Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. • Liberty carded a 24-over par 876 (295-288-293), finishing one shot outside of advancing to the match play portion of the 2012 national championship. • Ervin Chang (74-68-72), who is ranked No. 31 in the country, and Kieran Vincent (72-69-73) paced Liberty's efforts at the NCAA Athens Regional, finishing tied for 10th place with a 1-over par 214. • Gabe Lench, who is ranked No. 53 in the country, finished tied for 21st with a 4-over par 217 (73-73-71). • Alexandre Fuchs and Jonathan Yaun both played their best rounds of the NCAA Athens Regional during their final trip around the University of Georgia Golf Course. • Fuchs finished tied for 52nd place with a 12-over par 225 (75-78-72) and Yaun closed his first regional showing tied for 57th with a 14-over par 227 (75-78-74).
Back on the Course – Liberty's Next Event: • NCAA Men's Golf Championship (May 24-29) • The Blessings Golf Course (Fayetteville, Ark.) • Hosted by Arkansas
Photos provided by Tim Cowie: