Monday, June 17, 2024

Flames Ready to Challenge for First CUSA Men’s Golf Title – Liberty University

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Liberty, a seven-time conference champion since 2011, will look to win its first-ever Conference USA title at this week’s CUSA Men’s Golf Championship.
     
The four-day event will be held at the Texarkana Country Club (par 72, 6,969 yards) in Texarkana, Ark., starting on Monday.
     
The tournament will start with a 54-hole event where all eight conference teams will challenge to advance to match play, featuring the top four teams.
     
Two rounds of match play will be contested on Thursday, starting with a pair of semifinal matches during the morning session. The winners will square off during the afternoon to determine the 2024 Conference USA Men’s Golf champion.
     
This will be the first time Liberty has played in a conference championship event where a champion is determined by match play.
     
Conference USA has played its conference championship event at the Texarkana Country Club since 2015, the same year it introduced match play to the championship.
     
Former CUSA member Charlotte knocked off Louisiana Tech, 3-2-0, in the 2023 CUSA Men’s Golf Championship to claim last year’s team title.
     
Middle Tennessee, the top-ranked team in this year’s event, has won the team title three times since 2018 (2018, 2019 and 2021).
     
Play gets underway on Monday morning at 8 a.m. CST of the No. 1 tee (par 4, 400 yards). No 3 seed Liberty, along with No. 4 seed UTEP, will be sent off the No. 1 tee starting at 8:40 a.m. CST.
 
Now on The Tee – Liberty’s Starting Five (2023-24 Stroke Average)

 
Tournament Reflections – Previous Showing at their last conference championship:  

  • The Flames’ second ASUN title and seventh conference title in program history went down in the record books as No. 1 seed Liberty had to go low to claim the 2023 ASUN Men’s Golf Championship, April 24-26.
  • The Flames finished their final ASUN Championship with a 53-under par 811 (275-261-275) following three trips around the RTJ Golf Trail at Magnolia Grove (par 72, 7,212 yards). The score set a new program 54-hole team scoring record.
  • Individually, Liberty’s Jonathan Yaun also etched his name in the record books with an 18-under par 198 (68-63-67) to claim medalist honors at the championship. Yaun’s score was the lowest individual 54-hole total in program history.
  • Liberty was pushed by No. 2 seed North Florida, who won the 2022 ASUN Championship. North Florida finished four shots back of the Flames with a 49-under par 815 (271-273-271).
  • The team title was the 33rd NCAA Division I team tournament victory for the Flames and Liberty’s first since winning the 2021 ASUN Men’s Golf Championship.
  • Liberty has won seven NCAA Division I conference titles in program history – two in the ASUN Conference (2021 and 2023) and five as a member of the Big South Conference (2011, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018).
  • With the record-setting victory, Liberty earned the ASUN Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals where the Flames finished in eighth place at the NCAA Bath Regional (May 15-17).

 
From the 18th Green – Recapping Liberty’s Last Time Out:

  • Playing its best golf at the end of the year, the Flames enter the 2024 Conference USA Men’s Golf Championship on the heels of their top finish this spring.
  • Liberty finished its final regular season event with a fifth-place showing at the Mossy Oak Collegiate, carding a 5-under par 859 (287-289-283), April 15-16.
  • Liberty closed the event with a 5-under par 283 during the final round. Only No. 2 Auburn (11-under par 277) and No. 26 Mississippi State (6-under par 282) posted better final round scores.
  • The final-round charge for the Flames was led by a career outing from senior Austin Barbin. He matched his career low 18-hole total with a 6-under par 66, allowing him to climb 32 spots on the individual leaderboard.
  • Barbin finished the tournament tied for 15th place with an overall 3-under par 213 (73-74-66), his best finish of the season.
  • Josh Ryan led the Flames overall by finishing tied for seventh place with a 5-under par 211 (68-72-71). This marked the ninth time in 10 team events that Ryan has led the Flame in a tournament thanks in part to his team-lead 14 birdies.

 
Birdies and Bogeys – Liberty Team Notes:

  • Liberty enters postseason play ranked No. 88 in the latest Scoreboard national rankings.
  • Josh Ryan led the Flames during eight of the team’s nine events during the 2023-24 season.
  • Isaac Simmons (T19) and Brett Reid (T19) edged out Josh Ryan (T27) at the Lewis Chitengwa Memorial (April 8-9), marking the first time Ryan has not led Liberty this season.
  • Josh Ryan was named the final Conference USA Men’s Golfer of the Week on April 18 following a seventh-place showing at the Mossy Oak Collegiate (April 15-16).
  • Josh Ryan paces the Flames on the year in scoring average (70.70), rounds at par or better (21-of-30), rounds in the 60s (9) and birdies (116).
  • Seniors Isaac Simmons (5) and Austin Barbin (4) lead the Flames in eagles this year.
  • The Flames enter the postseason looking to capture their eighth conference title since 2011 and their first as a member of Conference USA.
  • Liberty closed out its time in the ASUN Conference by winning the title in record fashion when the Flames posted a 53-under par 811 (275-261-275) in the championship event.
  • Liberty captured the conference title five times as a member of the Big South Conference (2011, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018) and twice as a member of the ASUN Conference (2021 and 2023).
  • The Flames have advanced to the NCAA Regionals 11 of the last 12 regional events and to the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship four times in program history (2012, 2019, 2021 and 2022).

 
Looking at the Latest Rankings (Scoreboard National Rankings as of April 10):
No. 1 seed Middle Tennessee (No. 72)
No. 2 seed Sam Houston (No. 77)
No. 3 seed Liberty (No. 88)
No. 4 seed UTEP (No. 123)
No. 5 seed Louisiana Tech (No. 132)
No. 6 seed Jacksonville State (No. 142)
No. 7 seed Western Kentucky (No. 146)
No. 8 seed New Mexico State (No. 156)
 
Course Information:

  • Texarkana Country Club (Texarkana, Ark.)
  • Par 72, 6,969 yards

 
Following the Flames at the Conference USA Men’s Golf Championship:

  • Live stats will be available at Golfstat.com
  • Twitter @LibertyGolf
  • Instagram @LibertyGolf
  • Round 1 Tee Time: Monday at 8 a.m./CST (No. 1 tee)

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