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SunTrust Gator Invitational Next Stop for Men's Golf

February 16, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Gabe Lench led the Flames at last year's SunTrust Gator Invitational, finishing in 27th place with a 7-over par 217 (73-72-73).

Gabe Lench led the Flames at last year's SunTrust Gator Invitational, finishing in 27th place with a 7-over par 217 (73-72-73).

SunTrust Gator Invitational Live Stats

Following a successful opening to the spring portion of its schedule, the men's golf team will return to the course this weekend for the SunTrust Gator Invitational.

The two-day, 54-hole event is hosted by No. 7 Florida at its home golf course – the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, Fla. (par 70, 6,701 yards). Play gets underway on Saturday morning with 36 holes of continuous play, followed by a final round of 18 holes on Sunday.

The Flames are no stranger to Florida's on-campus golf course, having participated in this event the last six seasons. Liberty's best showing at this event during the last half dozen years was a sixth-place finish in 2012 and 2016.

Liberty finished last year's event in ninth place with a 28-over par 868 (288-295-285). The Flames were paced by Gabe Lench, who finished tied for 26th place with a 7-over par 217 (73-72-73).

The SunTrust Gator Invitational continues to pull in some of the best teams in the country, as the field includes seven teams who finished the fall season ranked in the final Golfstat top 50 team rankings: Vanderbilt (No. 6), Florida (No. 7), Arkansas (No. 20), Missouri (No. 26), North Florida (No. 27), USF (No. 43) and UCF (No. 50).

Much like it did with its first tournament of the spring, No. 70 Liberty will once again have a chance to improve its national ranking with a strong finish in this event. The first national rankings of the spring season are slated to be released on Feb. 28.

Two weeks ago, Liberty opened its spring slate with a third-place showing at the Sea Best Invitational, carding a 1-under par 839 (277-277-285) on the TPC Sawgrass – Dye's Valley Course (par 70, 6,858 yards), the sister course to the famed TPC Sawgrass – Stadium Course.

The 15-team field included 13 teams who finished the fall season ranked inside the final Golfstat top 100 team rankings. Liberty finished ahead of No. 11 LSU, No. 24 North Carolina, No. 27 North Florida and No. 28 Tennessee.

Liberty's Ervin Chang became the program's first individual medalist since the opening event of the 2016-17 season, carding a 6-under par 204 (67-67-70) to win the event.

Last week's Big South Men's Golfer of the Week claimed medalist honors in a three-man, one-hole playoff, posting a par of the first playoff hole.

Chang was Liberty's first individual medalist since the opening event of the 2016-17 season (Kieran Vincent at the Rod Myers Invitational, Sept. 10-11). The sophomore is the 28th NCAA Division I individual medalist in program history after leading the 81-man field in par-4 scoring (3.86 scoring average).

Chang has now played 11 of his 18 rounds during the 2017-18 season at par or better and he currently leads the Flames with a 72.22 season stroke average.

Along with Chang, Liberty's five-man roster at the Florida event will consist of seniors Mickey DeMorat (72.22), Isaiah Logue (74.00) and Payton Taylor (74.00) and junior Gabe Lench (73.42) (season stroke averages).

Play gets underway at 8 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday and live scoring will be provided by

2018 SunTrust Gator Invitational
(Final Rankings for Fall 2017)
Arkansas (No. 20)
Coastal Carolina (No. 85)
College of Charleston (No 102)
Florida (No. 7)
Georgia Southern (No. 66)
Jacksonville (No. 80)
Liberty (No. 70)
Lipscomb (No. 58)
Mississippi State (No. 71)
Missouri (No. 26)
North Florida (No. 27)
Troy (No. 146)
UAB (No. 96)
UCF (No. 50)
USF (No. 43)
Vanderbilt (No. 6)

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