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Liberty gets it done at NCAA East Regional

Liberty Athletics
published 19 May 2012

see also: NCAA Division I Golf Championship - East Regional

Liberty wins a trip to Nationals
with their Regional victory

-- photo Liberty Athletics
GREENSBORO, N.C. (May 19, 2012) -- No. 6 seed Liberty withstood a fierce charge from No. 3 seed Florida, fending off the Gators with four birdies on No. 18 to capture the team title at the 2012 NCAA Greensboro Regional, Saturday afternoon, on the East Course at the Grandover Resort.

With the victory, Liberty along with Florida, No. 1 seed Auburn, No. 10 seed Lamar and No. 9 seed Tulsa will be making a West Coast trip in 10 days.

The top five teams at each of the six NCAA Regionals sites around the country earned the right to compete at the 2012 NCAA Men's Golf National Championship, May 29 June 3, at the Riviera Country Club in in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

For the Flames, it marked their third straight team victory and the team's ninth straight round where it finished as the clubhouse leader. In April, Liberty won the River Landing Intercollegiate on April 6-7 before capturing its second straight Big South Men's Golf Championship at The Patriot Golf Club on April 16-18.

Liberty finished atop the 14-team leaderboard with a four-over par 868 (283-293-292), three shots clear of Florida, who finished second with a seven-over par 871 (299-287-285).

Auburn took third place with a 10-over par 874 (296-292-286), followed by Lamar's 13-over par 877 (295-293-289) and Tulsa's 14-over par 878 (293-297-288).

The odd team out of the nationals mix was local favorite Duke, with the fourth-seeded Blue Devils finishing in sixth place with a 17-over par 881 (301-291-289).

SMU had one of the most dramatic falls of the day down the leaderboard. The Mustangs came into the day in second place, six strokes behind Liberty, but carded a 13-over par 301 on Saturday to fall to seventh place with a 19-over par 883 (288-294-301).

Liberty becomes the first-ever Big South men's golf team to win an NCAA Regional event and the fourth to advance to the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship. Coastal Carolina has made three trips to the national championship event (2005, 2006 and 2007), spotlighted by its fifth-place finish in 2006.

Liberty's Robert Karlsson finished the 54-hole event in a three-way tie for first place with SMU's Matt Schovee and Campbell's Viata Guillaume.

Schovee and Guillaume went on to play a playoff to determine who would advance to the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship as an individual.

The top scoring individual not on one of the five teams heading to nationals qualified as an individual. Karlsson did not compete in the playoff, as he had already secured his tee time at Riviera by leading Liberty to the regional team title.

Guillaume, this year's Big South Golfer of the Year, went on to defeat Schovee on the first playoff hole. Guillaume parred the long par 4 No. 10 hole, while Schovee would post bogey. Schovee was the 36-hole individual leader on the day, but closed the championship with a four-over par 76 on the final day to allow Guillaume and Karlsson back into the individual title mix.

Karlsson finished in a three-way tie with Guillaume and Schovee, posting a three-under par 213 (70-69-74), marking his first career sub-par NCAA Regional finish in four regional showings.

Chase Marinell shared seventh place with an one-over par 217 (70-74-73), while Niklas Lindstrom finished tied for 13th place with a three-over par 219 (72-74-73).

Mathieu Fenasse finished tied for 39th place with a 10-over par 226 (71-78-77) and Ian McConnell continued to improve and posted Liberty's lowest final round to climb to a share of 44th place with an 11-over par 227 (79-76-72).

For the third straight day, the front nine continued to be more difficult for Karlsson than the back. The senior came into the day one-under on the front nine and four-under on the final nine holes and without a bogey on the back side.

Karlsson dropped a shot early, as the senior was unable to get up and down from the left side of the green at No. 1, carding his first of three front side bogeys.

Five straight pars were highlighted by a strong recovery on the par 5 No. 6 hole. The two-time Big South Golfer of the Year lost a ball right off the tee, but still managed to make par after a solid second drive and a hybrid to within eight feet.

Another errant tee shot on the downhill par 3 No. 7 hole cost Karlsson his second stroke. His iron found the left bunker, and he was unable to get close after his ball found the downslope of the sand.

Karlsson tried to scramble and close with par on the uphill par 4 No. 9 hole, but a drive left and an approach short and right forced the senior to make the turn at three-over par on the day.

Another solid hybrid shot on No. 10 seemed to calm Karlsson down, as the shot to within 12 feet, which he would two putt for par, began a string of eight straight pars.

The only time the run of pars was in jeopardy was on the short par 3 No. 12 hole, a hole Karlsson had birdied the previous two days.

However, the back pin placement on the three-tiered green gave him some challenges. After being long and left, Karlsson made an aggressive run at holing out. His chip up caught the edge of the cup, which slowed the pace of the ball down just enough to remain on the top tier of the green and allowed him to sink the six foot comeback putt for par.

Coming to the home hole, a 570-yard par 5, live scoring had the Flames up by one shot over the Gators, encouraging Karlsson to give the No. 18 green a shot in two to help the team's chances at the team title.

Once again, he found the sweet spot of his hybrid, clearing the water that jutted out in front of the hole and he ran his approach through the two-tiered green. The senior completed his first under par hole of the day after his chip up ran down the slope to within four feet of the hole.

On the day, Karlsson finished by hitting 6-of-14 fairways and 9-of-18 greens in regulation to go along with 29 total putts.

Karlsson dramatic birdie on No. 18 completed a run of four straight under par scores for the Flames on the last hole to seal the team's victory. Joining Karlsson in making an under par on the home hole were Marinell, Lindstrom and McConnell.

After following Karlsson with a bogey on No. 1, Marinell was able to grind out a one-over par 73 on the day. The sophomore quickly regained the stroke with a birdie on the par 5 No. 2, but gave it back with over par scores on No. 5 and 10, both par fours. He carded seven straight pars before closing with a birdie on No. 18.

McConnell was Liberty's low golfer on the day, saving his best round of the championship event for Saturday. He opened with a birdie on No. 1, snaking in a 35-foot putt to jumpstart his round.

He sandwiched birdies on No. 4 and 6 with a bogey on No. 5 to make the turn at two-under par. His score remained the same until he bogeyed holes No. 12, 13 and 15 to go back to one-over par on the day. His birdie on No. 18 began Liberty's closing run, as he was the first Liberty golfer off the tee on the day at 8:45 a.m.

Lindstrom opened his day with a pair of pars before dropping shots at No. 3 and 4. He got one back with a birdie on No. 6, but followed with a bogey on No. 7 to make the turn at two-over par on the day.

He birdied No. 11 and posted a bogey on No. 14 before closing his day with a birdie on No. 18, a hole he played at three-under par during the regional event.

Much like the rest of his teammates, Fenasse struggled out of the gates, posting bogeys on No. 1 and 3. After carding seven pars in a row, the freshman cut his deficit in half with a birdie on No. 11. However, during his closing six holes, he carded three bogeys, a double bogey and a birdie to finish at five-over par for the day.

Liberty's first trip to the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship will begin with a practice round on May 28, followed by three rounds of stroke play on May 29 May 31 which will dwindle the 30-team field down to the final eight programs.

The top eight teams will advance to a three-day match play event where an eventual national champion will be crowned on June 3.

NCAA Division I Golf Championship - East Regional: Top Finishers

Click on each link to view that player's ranking and performance in
Golfweek/ Player Rankings points events
Place    Player Scores
T1 France Vaita Guillaume, France 70-71-72--213
T1 Sweden Robert Karlsson, Sweden 70-69-74--213
T1 CO Matt Schovee, Cherry Hills Village, CO 67-70-76--213
4 FL Blayne Barber, Lake City, FL 73-68-73--214
T5 NY Dominic Bozzelli, Mendon, NY 76-70-70--216
T5 FL J.D. Tomlinson, Gainesville, FL 73-71-72--216
T7 NV Blake Biddle, Las Vegas, NV 70-73-74--217
T7 South Africa Luke Jerling, South Africa 75-71-71--217
T7 CA John Young Kim, Los Alamitos, CA 69-75-73--217
T7 FL Chase Marinell, FL 70-74-73--217
T7 VA Brinson Paolini, Virginia Beach, VA 73-73-71--217
T7 FL T.J. Vogel, Cooper City, FL 78-70-69--217
T13 South Africa M.J. Daffue, South Africa 70-73-76--219
T13 VA Niklas Lindstrom, VA 72-74-73--219
15 FL Tyler McCumber, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 74-72-74--220
T16 Canada Eric Banks, Canada 75-74-72--221
T16 NY Max Buckley, Rye, NY 76-70-75--221
T16 Sweden Niclas Carlsson, Sweden 74-76-71--221
T16 Belgium Kevin Hesbois, Belgium 75-75-71--221
T16 Canada Raoul Menard, Canada 74-73-74--221
T16 OK Colton Staggs, OK 79-73-69--221
T16 NC Adam Sumrall, NC 73-71-72--221
T23 SC Austin Cody, N. Charleston, SC 79-71-72--222
T23 FL Brant Peaper, Tequesta, FL 76-73-73--222
T23 WA Kevin Penner, Sammamish, WA 75-76-71--222
T23 OK Chris Worrell, Enid, OK 74-77-71--222
T23 IN Corey Ziedonis, IN 71-73-78--222
T28 WA Carl Jonson, Bainbridge Island, WA 73-77-74--224
T28 CA Spencer Anderson, Pacific Palisades, CA 76-77-71--224
T28 OK Matt Mabrey, OK 73-74-77--224
T28 LA Andrew Noto, Luling, LA 74-75-75--224
T28 MD Devin O'Grady, MD 77-76-71--224
T28 TX Esteban Restrepo, TX 76-74-74--224
T28 IN Chase Wright, Muncie, IN 76-73-75--224

To view complete results, click here.

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