Liberty Golf Performs Well in Opener

The Liberty golf team, ranked No. 25 in the Golfweek Preseason Coaches poll, placed sixth in its season-opening match at Marquette Intercollegiate Sept. 5-7.

The Flames held their own on the first day of play, placing eighth on the day. Connor Polender finished day one in 13th place, and he led the team in under par scoring. Polender tied for 13th with a 2-under-par 70 for the day. Austin Duncan, a transfer student from North Greenville University, followed closely behind and tied for 20th on the day with an 1-under-par 71. 

Both Polender and returning All-American Kieran Vincent opened the match strong, each carding three birdies during the first round. 

On the second day, the Flames moved up to fourth place overall, marking an incredible comeback from the first round. Liberty managed a 15-under-par 273, which tied for the fifth best 18-hole total in the event’s history. 

Duncan led the Flames in round two with a 7-under-par 137, with Vincent following with a 6-under-par 138. Liberty shared fourth place in the second round with Kansas. Duncan managed to move into the top 10 with his 6-under-par 66 during Monday’s round. Vincent managed to jump up 16 spots on the individual leaderboard after his strong 6-under-par 66. 

On day three, the Flames were unable to further improve in the standings and dropped down for a sixth place finish to close the match. Polender led the Liberty efforts with 39 pars, finishing under par in all three rounds. 

Duncan and Vincent both contributed with under par finishes of 4-under-par 212 (71-66-75) and 3-under-par 213 (72-66-75) respectively. Jonathan Yaun and Isaac Simmons also showed strong scores of 3-over-par 219 (74-72-73) and 6-over-par 222 (77-70-75). 

Despite significant weather delays, the Flames still managed to edge out major competition from Norte Dame and Northwestern, who placed seventh and eighth respectively. Texas A&M’s Walker Lee claimed the medalist honors with a score of 14-under-par 202 (66-67-69). 

The Flames will look to improve before their next event at the 2021 Maridoe Collegiate Invitational Sept. 13-15 in Carrolton, Texas.

Altamirano is a sports reporter. 

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