NCAA Men's Golf National Championship Notes
Following one of the most historic seasons in program history, Liberty will be making its second ever appearance at the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship.
Thanks to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Athens Regional, last week, Liberty will be one of 30 teams teeing it up at The Blessings Golf Club (par 72, 7,550 yards) in Fayetteville, Ark., starting on Friday.
The six-day event begins with a 54-hole tournament, Friday through Sunday (May 24-26), involving all 30 teams. The top 15 teams will advance to one additional day of stroke play on Monday, May 27, before the top eight teams challenge for the national title in three rounds of match play on Tuesday, May 28, and Wednesday, May 29.
Now on The Tee – Liberty's Starting Five (Season Stroke Average): • Ervin Chang (71.13) • Gabe Lench (71.40) • Kieran Vincent (72.20) • Jonathan Yaun (73.71) • Alexandre Fuchs (73.40) • Alternate: Zach Barbin (74.29)
Tournament Reflections – Liberty's Last Showing at the NCAA National Championship: • Liberty is making its second appearance in program history at the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship and its first since 2012. • The Flames advanced to the national championship by winning the 2012 NCAA Greensboro Regional, posting a score of 4-over par 868 (283-293-292) at the Grandover Resort – East Course (par 72, 7,271 yards) in Greensboro, N.C. • Liberty finished the NCAA Greensboro Regional three shots clear of Florida (+7/871) and six ahead of Auburn (+10/874). • 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. • Sophomore Chase Marinell was Liberty's top finisher in the field, finishing tied for 29th place with a 4-over par 217 (71-70-76). • The 156-player national championship field included several current PGA Tour players, including Daniel Berger, Patrick Cantlay, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Patrick Rodgers, J.J. Spaun, Jordan Spieth and Harold Varner.
From the 18th Green – Recapping Liberty's Last Time Out: • Liberty earned its second trip to the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship by finishing in fifth place at the 2019 NCAA Athens Regional. • The Flames posted an 18-over par 870 (294-288-288) at the University of Georgia Golf Course (par 71, 7,253 yards) in Athens, Ga., May 13-15. • Liberty finished three shots ahead of Tennessee (+21/873) and five shots clear of Nevada (+23/875) to claim the last national qualifying spot from the Athens Regional. • The other four teams to advance from the NCAA Athens Regional were Georgia (-8/844), Duke (-1/851), Vanderbilt (+1/853) and SMU (+16/868). • Liberty was led at the regional by Ervin Chang (74-68-72) and Kieran Vincent (72-69-73), as the pair tied for 10th place with a 1-over par 214. • Gabe Lench, the lone senior in Liberty's lineup, finished tied for 21st place with a 4-over par 217 (73-73-71).
Birdies and Bogeys – Liberty Team Notes: • The Flames entered postseason play ranked No. 22 in the Golfstat national rankings. • Following the runner-up finish at the Linger Longer Invitational (March 15-17), Liberty's national ranking climbed to an all-time program high of No. 18 on March 20. • The Flames have two individual golfers who currently rank inside the top-75 in the country: Ervin Chang (No. 31) and Gabe Lench (No. 53). • During the offseason, 17 of Liberty's 20 NCAA Division I athletics programs moved their conference affiliation from the Big South Conference to the ASUN Conference. • Liberty was a member of the Big South Conference for 27 years, starting its membership during the 1991-92 athletic year. • Liberty earned automatic bids to the NCAA Regionals with conference titles in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 as a member of the Big South Conference. • This year's NCAA Regional selection was the program's fifth at-large selection into regional play. • The Flames also advanced to postseason regional play with an at-large selection in 2003, 2006, 2013 and 2017. • The men's golf program is one of only two teams at Liberty to earn an at-large selection into an NCAA Division I postseason championship. Baseball earned its first-ever NCAA Regional at-large berth in 2014.
Regional Reflections – Looking at the Last Time Liberty Played at The Blessings: • Flames Head Coach Jeff Thomas will be taking his second team to The Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark., this week. • Thomas guided Liberty to an at-large bid in the NCAA Fayetteville Regional at The Blessings Golf Club, May 16-18, 2013. • Liberty finished the event in 11th place, posting a team score of 55-over par 919 (303-313-303). • The NCAA Fayetteville Regional winner was Illinois, who claimed the regional title with a score of 1-under par 863 (282-292-289). • The four other teams to advance out of the NCAA Fayetteville Regional were tournament host Arkansas (+2/866), Texas (+16/880), Oklahoma State (+18/882) and Kent State (+28/892). • Liberty's top two golfers in the field were Chase Marinell, who finished tied for 21st place with an 8-over par 224 (76-72-76), and Mathieu Fenasse, who tied for 32nd place with an 11-over par 227 (72-77-78).
Scouting the Field (30 teams): Looking at the Latest Rankings (Golfstat rankings as of 5/1/19):
No. 1 Oklahoma State (No. 1) No. 2 Arizona State (No. 2) No. 3 Wake Forest (No. 3) No. 4 Vanderbilt (No. 4) No. 5 Texas (No. 5) No. 6 Oklahoma (No. 6) No. 7 Georgia Tech (No. 7) No. 8 Duke (No. 8) No. 9 USC (No. 9) No. 10 Stanford (No. 10) No. 11 Auburn (No. 11) No. 12 California (No. 12) No. 13 Clemson (No. 13) No. 14 Georgia (No. 14) No. 15 BYU (No. 28) No. 16 South Carolina (No. 15) No. 17 LSU (No. 16) No. 18 Texas A&M (No. 17) No. 19 North Florida (No. 18) No. 20 Pepperdine (No. 20) No. 21 Louisville (No. 21) No. 22 Liberty (No. 22) No. 23 Baylor (No. 23) No. 24 Illinois (No. 24) No. 25 North Carolina (No. 25) No. 26 TCU (No. 28) No. 27 UNLV (No. 33) No. 28 Ohio State (No. 42) No. 29 Georgia Southern (No. 51) No. 30 SMU (No. 53)
Course Information: • The Blessings Golf Club (Fayetteville, Ark.) • Par 72, 7,550 yards
Following the Flames at NCAA Men's Golf National Championship: • Live stats will be available at Golfstat.com • Twitter @LibertyGolf • Instagram @LibertyGolf • Round 1 Tee Time: Friday at 8:45 a.m./EST (No. 10 tee) • Round 2 Tee Time: Saturday at 2:05 p.m./EST (No. 1 tee)
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