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Flames Finish Day 1 at Mason Rudolph Championship in 8th Place

March 31, 2017  Franklin, Tenn.  RSS
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Kieran Vincent fired a 3-under par 68 on Friday to lead the Flames during the first round of the Mason Rudolph Championship.

Kieran Vincent fired a 3-under par 68 on Friday to lead the Flames during the first round of the Mason Rudolph Championship.

No. 43 Liberty opened the 2017 Mason Rudolph Championship with a 2-over par 286 on Friday and stands in eighth place heading into tomorrow's second round.

The Flames struggled during the closing holes at the Vanderbilt Legends Club – South Course (par 71, 7,100 yards), with Liberty's counting four golfers carding four bogeys over the last three holes. Junior Isaiah Logue helped offset the late struggles, snaking in a 12-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th hole (522 yards).

Seven of the 14 teams in the field were able to handle the blustery conditions of the day, carding under-par scores.

No. 6 Florida leads the field after an 8-under par 276, followed closely behind by No. 3 Vanderbilt, who carded a 7-under par 277 on its home course.

Alabama is in third place with a 6-under par 278, while No. 21 Duke (4-under par 280) and No. 49 Middle Tennessee State (2-under par 282) round out the top-five teams in the field.

Theo Humphrey paced the 78-man field with Vanderbilt's golfer carding a 5-under par 66. East Tennessee State's Mateusz Gradecki is in second place after a 4-under par 67.

Five players carded a 3-under par 68, including Liberty's Kieran Vincent. The Flames' freshman golfer posted his fifth sub-70 round of the season thanks to three birdies and an eagle on the par-5, No. 14 hole (517 yards).

Logue's closing eagle allowed the junior to post his team-leading 16th round at par or better this season. He offset four bogeys with two birdies and the previously mentioned eagle to stand in 23rd place after an even par 71.

Gabe Lench is tied for 41st place following a 2-over par 73, thanks to a team-best four birdies on the day. After a pair of early bogeys, the sophomore started to get his round back on track when he nearly reached the par-5 No. 6 hole (590 yards) in two and was able to record his first under-par hole of the day.

Two holes later, Lench escaped the dangers of the sloping green at No. 7 (par 4, 427 yards) by sticking his approach to five feet for a second birdie.

After making the turn at level par, Lench misjudged a middle iron on the par-4, No. 10 hole (465 yards) and posted a double bogey after finding the water hazard to the left of the green.

The native of Lake Mary, Fla., got one shot back when he dropped a 14-foot birdie putt on the par-4, No. 12 hole (467 yards). He looked like he might even his overall score again when he was 200 yards out on the par-5, No. 14 holes (517 yards), but a poor chip found another hazard and he bogeyed the hole.

A nice iron shot from a challenging lay at No. 15 (par 4, 424 yards) led to another short birdie putt, but he gave the shot right back with a three-putt bogey at No. 16 (par 3, 201 yards).

Lench finished the day hitting 8-of-13 fairways, 13-of-18 greens and had 31 total putts.

In his first tournament since suffering an injury in December, Mickey DeMorat posted a 3-over par 74 and stands in 47th place. Payton Taylor was one shot behind DeMorat and stands in 55th place following a 4-over par 75.

The Flames will have an early tee time tomorrow, going off the No. 1 tee (par 4 414 yards) starting at 8:30 a.m. (CST) for the middle round of the three-day event. Liberty will be paired with golfers from No. 26 Missouri (1-under par 283) for the second day in a row, along with Troy (4-over par 288).