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Flames Trail Just Chattanooga after Day One

March 8, 2010  Aiken, S.C.  RSS
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Max McKay stands in second place after 36 holes, as the freshman carded a four-under par 136 on Monday.

Max McKay stands in second place after 36 holes, as the freshman carded a four-under par 136 on Monday.

For the second year in a row, the Flames find themselves trailing just one team after the first 36 holes at the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate. Liberty fired back-to-back rounds of 283 on Monday and stands in second place in the 18-team field.

Chattanooga finished the second round with a three-under par 277 and leaped over round-one leader Furman and second-place Liberty. The Mocs will enter the final 18 holes of competition with a four-stroke lead over Liberty, after Chattanooga finished the day at two-over par 562 (285-277).

Liberty was the most consistent team among the leaders. The Flames fired consecutive three-over par 283s to stand in second place at six-over par 566. At last year's event, the Flames opened with a 283, but followed with a 294 to trail first-round leader and host USC-Aiken by four strokes.

This year's first-round leader, Furman, opened the event with a one-over 281, but dropped to third place after a second-round, eight-over par 288 for a 36-hole 569 total (nine-over par).

Rounding out the Top 5 in the field is Clemson, who stands at 11-over 571 (288-283) and No. 22 Virginia, who carded an opening day 13-over par 573 (294-274) on the par 70, 6,565 Palmetto Golf Club, which is the oldest golf course in the state of South Carolina.

Liberty's Robert Karlsson, who won last year's event with a one-under par 209, was one of six golfers to card a one-under 69 during the Monday morning opening 18 holes of competition.

The sophomore followed during the afternoon flight with an even-par 70 and stands in fourth place with a one-under par 139 (69-70).

Scores dropped during the afternoon rounds, as 11 golfers managed to break par. Only six players broke par during the first round.

Virginia's Ben Kohles benefited the most from the first-round experience, as the No. 28 ranked golfer in the country fired a tournament record, seven-under par 63 during the afternoon. The sophomore, who tied a Virginia 18-hole mark, currently leads the field by three strokes with a seven-under par 133 (70-63).

Trailing Kohles is Liberty's Max McKay, who fired a career-best, 18-hole total by carding a five-under par 65 during the afternoon. After the career-round, the rookie finds himself in second place with a four-under par 136 (71-65).

The 65 ties the low round by a Liberty golfer this year (Karlsson at the Renaissance Invitational), which is also the third-best, 18-hole total in program history.

Chattanooga's Stephan Jaeger stands in third place with a two-over par 138 (69-69), while East Carolina's Harold Varner (74-65) and Chattanooga's Steven Fox (73-66) are tied with Karlsson for fourth place at one-under par 139.

Also helping the Flames return to the second-place position for the second time at the event are Preston Dembrowiak, Jordan Frye and Stephen Dooley.

Dembrowiak tied his personal low round of the year by opening the event with an even par 70 and is tied for 23rd place with a five-over par 145 (70-75).

Frye is tied for 29th place with a six-over par 146 following two rounds at 73, while Dooley is tied for 59th place at 13-over par 153 (75-78).

The Flames, who are coming off the third and fourth best 18-hole team total this year, will be looking to better those scores and chase down first-day leader Chattanooga and capture their second team championship this season.

Liberty, along with golfers from Furman and Chattanooga, will tee off in the final five pars tomorrow morning, starting at 10:20 a.m. at the Palmetto Golf Course.