Men’s golf poised for asun success

The Liberty Flames golf team wrapped up its regular season schedule in Charlottesville at the Lewis Chitengwa Memorial tournament April 11-12, placing eighth out of 13 teams on the first day of play and finishing sixth on the second day. 

The outcome of this tournament moved the Flames into the No. 38 ranking, making them the highest-ranked team teeing off in the upcoming ASUN Conference Championship. 

Capturing his 25th career top-10 finish, senior Kieran Vincent, now ranked No. 46 in the country, placed third overall in the tournament, recording a career-low round of 8-under-par 64 in the second round and carding a final score of 7-under-par 206 (72-64-70). 

Vincent also led the way on the field, recording two eagles and 11 birdies, while junior Austin Barbin, playing in the event as an individual, paced the Flames with 40 pars, ranking third overall on the field in par-3 scoring.

Vincent’s second-round score of 64 is tied for the third-lowest 18-hole score in program history, a true testament to the incredible career he’s had as a Flame. He was named to the 2021-2022 ASUN Men’s Golf All-Conference first team, receiving the honor for the third season in a row.  Vincent led the Flames this season with a 70.96 stroke average, playing 66.7 percent of his rounds at par or better (18-of-27). 

Now, the team turns its attention to the defending their title at the ASUN Conference Championships. 

While Head Coach Jeff Thomas is very pleased with his team’s regular season performance, he is always looking for ways to strengthen his group. Consistency is a key attribute that Thomas has specifically gone back to, time and time again. 

“We’re happy with everybody,” Thomas said. “We’ve had some ups and downs, but, overall, we have played really well and being ranked No. 38 in the country this season speaks to that. As far as the team is concerned, we just need to stay consistent. That’s the biggest thing.”

Having won the ASUN Conference title last year for the first time in program history, the Flames have high hopes walking into this season’s tournament and feel comfortable with the competition.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure going into the tournament,” Thomas said. “It’s just important for us to play well. It’s not like basketball where you have to play defense. We know the types of games they’re going to play, so we just need to be prepared and play the best we can individually.”

The tournament will feature two other teams that are ranked in the top 100 in the nation with Florida Gulf Coast University at No. 52 and North Florida at No. 39. The Flames have grown accustomed to both teams this season. 

“It’s good that we’ve played with Florida Gulf Coast and North Florida a lot this year,” Thomas said. “So, it’ll be pretty familiar when we’re paired with them in the  conference (tournament).”     

The 2022 ASUN Men’s Golf Championship will host 13 different teams at the UGA Golf Course in Athens, Georgia, on April 24 – 26. 

Treadway is a sports reporter.

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