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No. 7 Seed Liberty Finishes Tied for 8th Place in Raleigh

May 16, 2018  Raleigh, N.C.  RSS
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No. 7 Seed Liberty Finishes Tied for 8th Place in Raleigh

No. 7 seed Liberty remained in the hunt for the program's second trip to the national championship until the closing holes on Wednesday, but eventually slipped to a share of eighth place before the end of the NCAA Raleigh Regional.

With as few as three holes left to play on the Lonnie Poole Golf Course (par 71, 7,273 yards), the Flames remained among the top five teams in the 14-team field.

However, by day's end, a six-team race for the final four spots advancing to next week's   NCAA Men's Golf National Championship at Karsten Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., left the Flames on the outside looking in.

A key hole on the closing stretch was the par-5, No. 7 hole (589 yards), Liberty's 16th hole after starting play at 7:30 a.m. on the par-4. No. 10 hole (389 yards).

All four of Liberty's counting scorers on the day posted a par on their final par-5 hole of the day, while No. 4 seed Arizona State had three players record birdies on the same hole to leapfrog the Flames in the standings.

Liberty also had three players post a bogey on its final hole, the par-4, No. 9 hole (490 yards), dropping the Flames further down the leaderboard.

Arizona State's Chun An Yu sank a 15-foot bending birdie putt, punching the Sun Devils' ticket to the national championship as they edged out sixth-place Georgia Tech by one shot with the birdie. Arizona State finished in fifth place with an 18-under par 834 (276-283-275), while No. 1 seed Georgia Tech failed to advance after a 17-under par 835 (274-279-282).

Liberty's closing hole challenges dropped the Flames (280-277-283) into a tie for eighth place along with No. 8 seed Missouri (280-283-277). Both squads posted a team score of 12-under par 840.

No. 3 seed Texas cruised to a convincing 17-stroke victory, posting a regional winning score of 39-under par 813 (271-273-269).

No. 5 seed Duke finished in second with a 22-under par 830 (281-272-277), while No. 6 seed and tournament host NC State claimed third place with a 21-under par 831 (275-277-279).

No. 11 seed Augusta, who won national titles in 2010 and 2011, posted the surprise round of the day. The Jags carded a 14-under par 270 closing round to move into fourth place with an overall 20-under par 832 (278-284-270).

Texas' Doug Ghim, the No. 10 ranked golfer in the country and a 2018 Masters participant, completed his wire-to-wire individual win by carding a 17-under par 196 (64-66-66) to claim Regional medalist honors.

Campbell's Pontus Nyholm (70-66-68-204) individually advanced to the national championship after beating Middle Tennessee State's Marcus Byrd (70-67-67) and Missouri's Hayden Buckley (69-69-66) in a three-man playoff for the individual honor.

Liberty's top golfer in the field was Mickey DeMorat, who finished tied for 16th place with a 4-under par 209 (70-69-70). The senior closed out his three-year career at Liberty with four birdies on the day, allowing him to lower his career scoring average to 72.28, the second best mark in program history.

Fellow senior Isaiah Logue followed DeMorat by finishing tied for 32nd place with a 1-under par 212 (74-69-69). The second four-time NCAA Regional participant in program history finished his career ranked third in program history with a 72.52 career scoring average after recording the 28th and final sub-70 round of his Liberty golfing career.

NCAA Regional newcomers Alexandre Fuchs and Ervin Chang finished one and two shots behind Logue.

Fuchs, a Big South All-Freshman team member, finished his first regional tied for 40th place with an even par 213 (70-70-73). The rookie was 5-over after seven holes during the final round, nearly getting back to level par on the day before a closing bogey on his last hole.

Chang, an All-Big South selection this season, finished tied for 45th place with a 1-over par 214 (71-72-71). The sophomore bookended even par rounds at his first regional, overcoming a double bogey on the par-3, No. 14 hole (194 yards) with four birdies on the day.

Gabe Lench, who entered the day tied for 11th place at 4-under par, dropped to a share of 51st place with an overall score of 3-over par 216 (69-69-79). The junior's undoing on the day came on the tricky par-5, No. 15 hole (549 yards). He hit two balls into the water hazard during a period of steady rain, eventually leading to a quadruple bogey nine on the hole.

The eighth-place regional showing wraps up Liberty's 2017-18 season, one that saw the Flames claim their fifth Big South title since 2011 (2011, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018).

Liberty's trip to Raleigh was the Flames' ninth NCAA Regional appearance in program history and the seventh in the last eight years (2003, 2006, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018).