SILVIS, Ill. — The Lee University Flames golf team advanced to today’s final round of the NAIA National Championships at TPC Deere Run by posting a third round, 298 Thursday. The Flames finished rounds 1-3 in a tie for fifth place, making the final cut for just the second time in team history.
The Flames opened the tournament with a 292, followed by a second round, 300. The second half of the second round was played Thursday morning following a rain suspension, Wednesday. The Flames cumulative score now sits at 890 for the week.
“I am really proud of the way our guys have battled the conditions this week,” said Lee coach John Maupin. “Today was about as long a day at the golf course as you could imagine, we were playing for a solid 13-14 hours, and it can be quite draining.”
Jeremy Lawson led the way for the Flames, shooting a one over par, 72. JB Eksteen shot a 74 in Thursday’s third round and sits five over for the tournament, good for the No.11 spot in the individual standings. Lawson climbed 14 spots and is now tied at No.16.
“JB (Eksteen) had a great second round (one under par), he had about as good a ball striking round as I have seen,” praised Maupin. “Jeremy (Lawson) also had a great round in the third, and was in position to shoot a great round all day.”
Tyler Smith fired a 76 in the third round, moving his overall score to 12 over par, tied for No.36. Hunter Vest also fired five over for the round and is now in a tie at No.86. Closing out the Lee squad, Caleb Roberson shot a third round 80, dropping to a tie for No.94.
“I thought all our guys showed a lot of toughness, and they have put us in good position heading into the last round,” added Maupin.
Oklahoma Christian and their top golfer, Oscar Stark, continue to be in control of the tournament, hanging on to a comfortable lead heading into the final round. Stark finished at six under par and holds a six stroke advantage over Andrew Robb of British Columbia. The Eagles lead the team standings by 23 strokes over the second place team, South Carolina-Beaufort.
The Flames tee off their final round at 9:15 EST, this morning.
“We are really looking forward to (Friday), this is why you put in all the hard work throughout the year,” concluded Maupin. “We are going to go out and just enjoy being in the hunt, and commit to every shot.”
Live stats of the final round can be followed throughout the day at http://www.golfstatresults.com/public/index.cfm?tournament_id=2179 .