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Liberty Continues Florida Swing at Gator Invitational

February 18, 2016  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Payton Taylor and the Flames will play their second of three-straight events in Florida this weekend when they participate in the 2016 SunTrust Gator Invitational.

Payton Taylor and the Flames will play their second of three-straight events in Florida this weekend when they participate in the 2016 SunTrust Gator Invitational.

Liberty returns to the golf links in the "Sunshine State" this weekend when the Flames participate in the 2016 SunTrust Gator Invitational on Saturday and Sunday.

The 54-hole event is hosted by Florida at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, Fla., the Gators' on-campus home course (par 70, 6,701 yards).

The Flames have participated in this event the last four seasons with their best showing coming in 2012 when they finished in sixth place.

Last year, Liberty finished this event tied for eighth place, carding a 37-over par 877 (290-294-293). The Flames' top returning finisher was Isaiah Logue, who finished tied for 15th place with a 5-over par 215 (71-72-72).

In their four previous showings at this tournament, the Flames have had three golfers post top 10 finishes. Niklas Lindstrom finished tied for fifth place in 2013 to pace the trio of golfers. Last year, Mathieu Fenasse finished tied for eighth place, while Robert Karlsson posted a ninth place finish in 2012.

The Gators have captured the title at their own tournament 25 times in the event's 38-year history, but Florida has not won since 2011. The last four tournament titles have been claimed by Auburn (2012), Florida State (2013), Arkansas (2014) and USF (2015).

This year's 14-team field will once again feature some of the elite golf programs in the country, including Florida State (No. 3), Florida (No. 12), Vanderbilt (No. 19), UAB (No. 26), USF (No. 33) and North Florida (No. 39). In total, 11 of the 14 teams in this year's field are currently ranked inside the latest top 100 team rankings.

The Flames moved up from No. 64 to No. 53 in the first updated rankings of the spring following a runner-up finish at the Sea Best Invitational.

Liberty closed the Jacksonville hosted event with an even par 280, posting the best final round among the 15 teams in the tournament field. The Flames finished in second place with a 9-over par 849 (281-288-280) behind tournament victor Florida, who won with a 14-under par 826 (265-278-283).

The Flames will utilize the same starting five during this weekend's event as they did three weeks ago at the Sea Best Invitational.

Gabe Lench led the Flames at the Sea Best, finishing in a share of seventh place with a 1-over par 211 (68-72-71). The top 10 finish earned the rookie Big South Men's Golf Freshman of the Week honors and lowered his season stroke average to 73.93.

Logue, who leads Liberty with a 71.47 season stroke average, finished the Sea Best Invitational tied for 10th place with a 2-over par 212 (72-69-72). The sophomore has posted top 10 finishes in four of five events this season.

Fellow sophomores Hutson Chandler (71-77-69) and Mickey DeMorat (70-78-69) both finished the Sea Best Invitational tied for 23rd place with a 7-over par 217, thanks to the pair of golfers closing the event with sub-70 rounds.

Payton Taylor finished Liberty's spring opening event tied for 37th place with a 10-over par 220 (79-70-71), playing his final 36 holes at 1-over par.

The two-day event gets underway on Saturday at 8 a.m. with 36 holes of continuous play. The Flames will be paired with golfers from the College of Charleston and Georgia Southern, teeing off from holes No. 8 to 10 during the shotgun start. Pairings will be sent off the No. 1 and No. 10 tees for Sunday's final round, starting at 8 a.m.

2016 SunTrust Gator Invitational Field
(Updated Rankings)
College of Charleston (No. 57)
Florida (No. 12)
Florida State (No. 3)
Georgia Southern (No. 61)
Jacksonville (No. 76)
Liberty (No. 53)
Missouri (No. 85)
North Florida (No. 39)
UAB (No. 26)
UCF (No. 106)
UMKC (No. 101)
USF (No. 33)
Vanderbilt (No. 19)
Winthrop (No. 150)

Course Information:
Mark Bostick Golf Course (Gainesville, Fla.)
Par 70, 6,701 yards