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Flames Hold Day 1 Lead at Big South Championship

April 17, 2016  Ninety Six, S.C.  RSS
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Gabe Lench is tied for second place following Day 1 action at the 2016 Big South Men's Golf Championship.

Gabe Lench is tied for second place following Day 1 action at the 2016 Big South Men's Golf Championship.

No. 3 seed Liberty was the lone team to shoot an under-par score on Sunday, allowing the Flames to hold a three-stroke lead after the first round of the 2016 Big South Men's Golf Championship.

Liberty carded a 2-under par 286 during its first time around The Patriot Golf Club (par 72, 7,120 yards), giving the team a three-stroke advantage. The course is hosting this championship event for the ninth-consecutive season.

No. 2 seed Campbell is in second place with a 1-over par 289, followed by No. 1 seed and defending Big South champion Charleston Southern's 2-over par 290. No. 5 seed Winthrop is in fourth place following a 5-over par 293.

The 50-man field is chasing Campbell's Jesper Svensson who fired a 5-under par 67 after he carded six birdies and a bogey.

Liberty has two of the six golfers who are currently in red figures, led by Gabe Lench's 4-under par 68. The freshman opened play at his first conference championship event by birdieing the first three holes of play and he got to 4-under par with a birdie at the home hole, par-5, No. 18 (554 yards), his seventh total birdie of the day.

Lench is tied for second place with Charleston Southern's Austin James. The No. 17 ranked golfer in the country also carded a 4-under par 68 that featured six birdies and two bogeys.

Isaiah Logue is tied for fourth place following a 2-under par 70, a round that included birdies on three of the four par-5 holes on the Davis Love, III, designed golf course.

Mickey DeMorat is tied for 11th place following a 1-over par 73. The sophomore started play sinking a 15-foot uphill birdie putt at the opening hole (par-4, 392 yards) to quickly get into red figures.

However, he gave the shot back on the next hole after he missed the green left and long and his lag putt was well short. Two holes later, the sophomore used the contours of the sloping green at the par-3, No. 4 hole (194 yards) to get within eight feet and get back to level par with his second birdie of the day.

DeMorat had another look at birdie at the short par-4, No. 6 hole (363 yards), but his first of two three-putts on the day dropped him back to even par.

A long approach to the green at the challenging No. 11 hole (par 4, 440 yard) cost DeMorat another shot, but he got it right back after bending in a 14-foot birdie putt at the par-4, No. 12 hole (368 yards).

A big drive and a nice short iron left DeMorat 18 feet below the hole at No. 14 (par 4, 463 yards), but he dropped his final shot after he missed a four-foot par save from above the hole.

DeMorat was able to close his first collegiate round at The Patriot Golf Club with four-straight pars thanks to a nice up-and-down from a greedside bunker at No. 17 (par 3, 211 yards) and escaping a challenging chip shot on the final hole.

On the day, DeMorat finished hitting 9-of-14 fairways and 12-of-18 greens in regulation, while finishing the day with 30 putts.

Rounding out Liberty's final two competitors in the field are Hutson Chandler, who is tied for 18th place following a 3-over par 75, and Payton Taylor, who is tied for 39th place after a 7-over par 79.

The Flames will continue to be paired with golfers from Campbell and Charleston Southern during tomorrow's second round. The three top teams in this year's tournament field will be sent off the No. 10 tee (par 4, 415 yards) on Monday, starting at 9:20 a.m.

Live hole-by-hole scoring will continue to be provided by GolfStat.com, while @LUGameDay will be on the course providing more in-depth player updates as the Flames look to maintain their lead in this year's conference championship event.