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Flames Strengthen Lead at Big South Championship

April 18, 2016  Ninety Six, S.C.  RSS
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Payton Taylor carded a 4-under par 68 to help the Flames widen their lead after two rounds of the 2016 Big South Men's Golf Championship.

Payton Taylor carded a 4-under par 68 to help the Flames widen their lead after two rounds of the 2016 Big South Men's Golf Championship.

No. 3 seed Liberty fired its best round at the Big South Men's Golf Championship since 2012, widening its lead to seven strokes heading into tomorrow's final round of competition.

The Flames carded a 7-under 281, the best round of the day on The Patriot Golf Club (par 72, 7,120 yards). Liberty's 281 is the team's best score since a 13-under par 275 during the second round of Liberty's championship run in 2012. Today's 281 also ties the program's third-best team score at a Big South Men's Championship event.

Overall, the Flames sit atop the leaderboard with a 9-under par 567 (286-281). Liberty is seven shots in front of No. 1 seed and defending Big South champion Charleston Southern, who holds second place with a 2-under par 574 (290-284).

No. 2 seed Campbell, last year's runner-up, is in third place following identical rounds to post an overall 2-over par 578 (289-289).

The deciding holes on the day were the closing holes on the Davis Love, III, course. Starting off No. 10, Liberty's midway point of the round came on the par-5, No. 18 hole (554 yards), where four out of five Liberty players birdied. Charleston Southern posted one birdie, three pars and a bogey on the course's home hole.

Likewise, the Flames finished strong, carding three birdies and two pars on the par-4, No. 9 hole (441 yards). Charleston Southern had three out of five players post bogey, while two were able to salvage a par.

Individual medalist honors will likely come down to the top three players from the top three teams in this year's 10-team field.

Charleston Southern's Austin James, the No. 17 ranked golfer in the country, leads the 50-man field after posting his second consecutive 4-under par 68 for an overall 8-under par 136 (68-68).

Liberty's Isaiah Logue (70-69) had the third-best round of the day and shares second place with Campbell's Jesper Svensson (67-72). Both golfers enter tomorrow's final round three shots behind James with a 5-under par 139.

Logue posted birdies on both closing holes, plus a birdie on the nearly drivable par-4, No. 6 hole (363 yards), which had its tees up. The sophomore's only blemish on his scorecard was a bogey on the challenging No. 3 hole (par 4, 373 yards), which is playing a half-stroke over par for the championship.

Gabe Lench, who was tied for second coming into the round, dropped six spots down the leaderboard after a 4-over par 76. Overall, he is tied with one other player at an even par 144 (68-76).

The freshman opened the day strong, dropping a 15-foot birdie putt at No. 10 (par 4, 415 yards) to get to 5-under par for the championship. However, on the lengthy par-4, No. 11 hole (440 yards), he faded his drive right out of bounds and had some trouble around the greens, which eventually led to a triple bogey seven.

Three holes later, Lench was just off the green at No. 14 (par 4, 443 yards), but his putter failed him, as he three putted for inside 10 feet to drop two more shots.

The freshman did battle back, playing his final 13 holes at level par to remain inside the top 10 for the overall event. He finished the day hitting 9-of-14 fairways and 10-of-18 greens with 31 putts.

Mickey DeMorat (73-73) and Hutson Chandler (75-71) are tied for 11th place overall with a 2-over par 146.

DeMorat birdied three of the four par-5 holes on the day, but also had five bogeys to record his second-consecutive 1-over par 73.

Chandler moved up the leaderboard thanks to his third-lowest round of the spring season. The sophomore matched Logue by birdieing both closing holes and offset four total birdies with three bogeys.

Liberty's biggest mover on the day was Payton Taylor, who matched Charleston Southern's James for the low round on Monday.

The sophomore carded a 4-under par 68 and moved up 24 spots on the leaderboard into a tie for 15th place with an overall 3-over par 147 (79-68). Taylor made the turn at even par, but posted four closing nine birdies to card his third sub-70 round of the season.

The Flames will remain paired with No. 1 seed Charleston Southern and No. 2 Campbell for tomorrow's final round. The three top teams will be send off the No. 1 tee (par 4, 392 yards) starting at 9:20 a.m.

Liberty will be looking for its fourth Big South title in program history and its first since 2014. The Flames won their first three titles (2011, 2012 and 2014) at The Patriot Golf Club, the host of the Big South Men's Golf Championship for the last nine years.