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Late Day Move Has Flames in 3rd Place at The Hayt

February 24, 2017  Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.  RSS
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Hutson Chandler leads the Flames following a 1-under par 71 after round one of The Hayt on Friday.

Hutson Chandler leads the Flames following a 1-under par 71 after round one of The Hayt on Friday.

No. 33 Liberty carded a combined eight birdies during the final three holes of play on Friday, allowing the Flames to finish the first round of The Hayt in third place.

The Flames hovered between sixth and eighth place most of the day during their first trek around the Sawgrass Country Club (par 72, 6,976 yards). However, Liberty, who is currently ranked No. 33 in the last Golfstat rankings, had a strong close to the first day of competition.

Liberty finished the day with a 1-over par 289 and is four shots off the overall lead held by No. 49 UCF. The Knights opened the tournament with a 3-under par 285 and are one stroke ahead of Louisville's 2-under par 286.

UAB stands in fourth place with a 2-over par 290, while tournament host and No. 36 ranked North Florida rounds out the top five teams in fifth place with a 3-over par 291.

The final two top-50 ranked teams in the 15-team field are No. 31 Jacksonville, who is in eighth place with a 7-over par 295, and No. 45 UCLA, who is in 14th place with a 20-over par 308.

Eighteen players in the 84-man field finished the first day of play at the three-day event in red figures. Liberty's Hutson Chandler is among the group after carding a 1-under par 71 to share ninth place with nine other players.

Four players are tied for first place following a 3-under par 69 shot by UAB's Taylor Eyster, North Texas' Thomas Rosenmueller, UCF's Manuel Elvira and East Carolina's Patrick Stephenson.

Chandler played a part in Liberty's late round charge, carding three of his four birdies on the day during his final five holes. Following a bogey on the par-4, No. 13 hole (465 yards), the junior birdied three of the next four holes to account for his fourth sub-par round of the season.

Kieran Vincent and Payton Taylor finished one shot behind Chandler and are tied for 19th place following an even par round of 72.

Vincent turned a 3-over par score through 15 holes back to level par by closing with three birdies on the last three holes.

Likewise, Taylor made the turn at 3-over par, but the junior posted four birdies on the back nine, including under-par scores at the par-4 No. 16 (381 yards) and par-5 No. 18 (525 yards) holes.

A bogey at the par-5, No. 12 hole (517 yards) dropped Gabe Lench to 6-over par on the day. However, the junior birdied four of his next five holes to get back to 2-over on the day and is tied for 29th place overall.

Liberty's final golfer in the field is Isaiah Logue, who is tied for 63rd place with a 6-over par 78. Like his fellow teammates, Logue saved his best golf of the day for late in the round, posting one of his two birdies on No. 18.

Overall, Liberty led the 15-team field on the day with 21 birdies and played the par-4 holes at a scoring average of 4.14 (second best in the field).

The Flames will return to the Sawgrass Country Club, tomorrow morning, for round two of the 26th installment of The Hayt. Liberty will be paired with golfers from tournament leader UCF and second-place Louisville, with the three teams going off the No. 1 tee (par 4, 390 yards) starting at 10 a.m.