Preston Dembowiak continued his strong play of late and is tied for second heading into the final round of competition at the 14th annual Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate.
Playing against one of its strongest fields of the season, No. 40 Liberty finds itself in second place out 18 teams following two rounds of action at the 14th annual Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate. Six shots separate the top four teams in the field, which includes 10 Top 100 programs and six that are ranked inside the Top 50. The Flames trail No. 5 Alabama by just four shots on the par-70, 6,671-yard Palmetto Golf Course, which is recognized as the fourth-oldest golf course in the United States. The Crimson Tide closed out the first 36 holes of action with a five-over par 565 (288-277), followed by the Flames nine-over par 569 (285-284). Liberty's rounds on Monday rank as some of the best for the program this season, as their 284 is the third-lowest for the Flames this year. The next four teams on the leaderboard are also ranked programs, with No. 17 Virginia (291-280) and No. 41 Clemson (285-286) sharing third place with an 11-over par 571. No. 46 Chattanooga is in fifth place with a 14-over par 574 (280-294), while No. 69 Vanderbilt is one shot back in sixth place with a 15-over par 575 (291-284). Preston Dembowiak continued his strong showing of late, as Liberty's senior golfer is tied for second place with a two-under par 138 (70-68). Coming off a second-place finish at last week's Seahawk Invitational that included a five-under par 67 second round, Dembowiak shares second place with No. 141 Harold Varner of East Carolina (71-67) and Clemson's Crawford Reeves (69-69). He did so thanks to nine birdies during the 36 holes of competition, which ranks second in a tournament field that includes seven Top 100 ranked golfers. The trio trail Alabama's Bud Cauley, who has set a blistering pace of place with back-to-back four-under par 66s. The No. 13 ranked golfer stands six shots clear of the 90-man field with an eight-under par 132. Freshman Chase Marinell carded the best two rounds of his collegiate career when competing as a part of head coach Jeff Thomas' lineup. Liberty's rookie (70-71) shares 10th place with No. 10 Cory Whitsett of Alabama (76-65), as the pair carded one-over par rounds of 141. Robert Karlsson, who entered the event ranked No. 40 and with a 69.5 career stroke average in six rounds at this golf course, finds himself in a five-way tie for 21st place. The junior stands 12 shots off the pace after carding a four-over par 144 (73-71). Rounding out Liberty's final two competitors are Andrew Colvin, who is tied for 44th place with an eight-over par 148 (74-74), and Max McKay, who is tied for 65th place with a 12-over par 152 (72-80). The Flames will return to the familiar golf links of the Palmetto Golf Course tomorrow morning to start their closing 18 holes of competition in this year's installment of the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate. This marks the third year in a row the Flames have competed in the event hosted by USC Aiken, a program that is ranked No. 20 in the latest Division II national rankings. The Flames finished second in 2009 with a 35-over par 875 (283-294-298), thanks to Karlsson's individual victory. Last year, Liberty finished fourth with a 29-over par 869 (283-283-303), which was aided by a second-place showing by Karlsson and a fourth-place finish by Max McKay. Liberty will have the final tee times during the final rounds, as the Flames will go out with golfers from No. 5 Alabama and No. 17 Virginia, starting at 10:40 a.m.