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Fifth is the Place for McKay and LU at UCF

March 15, 2010  Orlando, Fla.  RSS
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Max McKay stands in fifth place, along with Liberty as a team, following 36 holes of play at the Rio Pinar Invitational.

Max McKay stands in fifth place, along with Liberty as a team, following 36 holes of play at the Rio Pinar Invitational.

Liberty's Max McKay, and the Flames as a team, find themselves in fifth place following two rounds of golf at the 2010 Rio Pinar Invitational, an event hosted by UCF at the par-72, 7,001-yard Rio Pinar Country Club.

Following 36 holes of golf, the host Knights have three of their five golfers in the top four, giving UCF a commanding 15-stroke lead going into the final round. After two rounds, UCF stands at seven-under par 569 (279-290) to lead the 18-team field.

Charlotte and North Texas mirrored each other's scores during the opening day of the two-day event, both shooting an eight-over par 584 with opening rounds of 291 and closing rounds of 293 to share second place.

North Florida, the top ranked program in the field with a current team Golfstat ranking at No. 27, stands in fourth place with a 14-over par 590 (293-297).

The Flames find themselves 25 shots off the torrid pace set by the host program. Liberty is in fifth place with an 18-over par 594 (295-299). Liberty, who is currently ranked No. 92 in the country, opened with a 295, which is tied for its ninth-best, 18-hole total this season.

Four Top 75 program currently trail the Flames, including No. 32 Middle Tennessee State, who is two shots behind Liberty, in sixth place with a 20-over par 596 (289-307).

No. 59 Wichita State is tied for eighth place (24-over par 600/298-302), No. 75 South Alabama is in a four-way tie for 10th place (26-over par 602/302-300) and No. 57 Texas-Arlington is tied for 15th place (33-over par 609/293-316) to round out the field's elite teams.

A total of six golfers, out of the field of 96, find themselves in red numbers after 36 holes, including McKay, who is tied with Charlotte's Corey Nagy for fifth place.

McKay, individually ranked at No. 70 by Golfstat, stands at a one-under par 141 (72-71), while Nagy, who is ranked No. 27, swapped 18-holes scores with McKay to share the fifth-place spot on the leaderboard (71-72).

Nagy's teammate, Olafur Loftsson (71-70) and UCF's Brad Schneider (70-71) lead the field with a three-under par 141. Schneider's follow Knights, Nuno Henriques (68-74) and Simon Ward (71-71), who share third place with a two-under par 142.

Helping the Flames leapfrog four Top 75 programs after day one is Robert Karlsson (75-75) and Preston Dembowiak (74-76), who share 33rd place with a six-over par 150.

Dembowiak and McKay are among the field's leaders in birdies through 36 holes of competition. Dembowiak ranks second in the field with eight birdies, helping to a five-under par score on the par-five holes, while McKay is tied for sixth with seven birdies.

Jordan Frye is tied for 55th place with a nine-over par 153 (76-77), while Stephen Dooley tied his low round of the spring season to open the event and is tied for 74th place a 12-over par 156 (74-82).

The Rio Pinar Invitational field of 18 teams is slated to return to the Rio Pinar links tomorrow morning for the final round, with a shotgun start beginning at 8:30 a.m.

UCF will be looking to capture its third-straight team title at the event, while the remaining programs will look to be the first team since Lamar, who won the 2006 championship, to walk away as the team victor.