Ian McConnell is one of two Flames tied for 24th place following the first day of action at the Linger Longer Invitational.
The Flames were one of several teams in contention following the first round at the Linger Longer Invitational, but a tough second round for Liberty has dropped the Flames well down the team leaderboard following 36 holes of action. No. 31/31 Liberty (Golfweek/Golfstat) was just six shots back of co-host No. 41/46 Kennesaw State, who was in second place, after Liberty posted a six-over par 292 during the morning flight on The Great Waters Golf Course. However, the Flames tied their second highest 18-hole team total of the season, closing day one action with a 18-over par 306 and now stand tied for ninth place in the 12-team field with a 22-over par 598. Liberty is tied with fellow Big South program Charleston Southern (297-301). Defending event champion No. 2/7 Alabama opened the 54-hole event with a blistering 10-under par 278 to take a commanding lead, following first round action. However, No. 26/25 Georgia closed the day with a nine-under par 279 to close the gap between the top two programs in the field. The pair of SEC programs are the only two in red figures. Alabama will enter the final day with a 12-under par 564 (278-286), five shots ahead of Georgia's seven-under par 569 (290-279). Three players lead the 19 total players in red figures following Saturday's action. Mercer's James Beale (71-68), Kennesaw State's Jeff Karlsson (67-72) and Notre Dame's Max Scodro (70-69) all lead the 72-man field with a five-under par 139. Much like its team effort during the morning flight, Liberty had a pair of golfers in the mix following the first 18 holes of action. Niklas Lindstrom opened with a two-under par 70 to share seventh place, while Robert Karlsson was one shot behind with a one-under par 71. However, both golfers struggled during the afternoon circling of the par-72, 7,073-yard Jack Nicklaus course. Karlsson had his highest 18-hole total since his freshman season at Liberty, carding an eight-over 80 after having seven bogeys and two double bogeys offset by three birdies. Entering the final round, Karlsson is tied for 45th place with a seven-over par 151 (71-80). Lindstrom (70-77) is tied for 24th place along with fellow teammate Ian McConnell (74-73), as both golfers will enter the final round with a three-over par 147. Lindstrom nearly made the turn at one-over par, but closed his opening nine with a double bogey on the par-4, No. 9 hole. He had three bogeys and a birdie on the back side to finish his second round with a five-over par 77. McConnell proved to be Liberty's most consistent golfer on the day, opening with a two-over par 74 and closing with a one-over par 73. The sophomore was in position to finish much higher, as he moved to three-under par during the afternoon with a birdie on the par-4, No. 16 hole. However he bogeyed the par-3, No. 17 and triple bogeyed the par-5 closing hole to post his second above-par score. Liberty's final two golfers in the field are Mathieu Fenasse, who is tied for 58th place with a 10-over par 154 (77-77), and Max McKay, who is tied for 70th place with a 19-over par 163 (84-79). McKay got off to a promising start with a birdie and an eagle on his first two holes. However, the junior closed with seven bogeys and three double bogeys on his final 14 holes to post his highest 18-hole total since joining the squad. Fenasse was at level par after nine holes during the morning flight, but two bogeys and two double bogeys during his next six holes that resulted in his five-over par opening round. He did manage to post a pair of birdies during the afternoon flight, but coupled that with five bogeys and a double bogey to match his morning round score. A shotgun start on Sunday morning will send the Flames out with golfers from Charlotte and South Alabama off the No. 10 tee at The Great Waters Golf Club for the final round of the Linger Longer Invitational, tomorrow morning at 8:33 a.m.