More national and regional honors for Big South men's golf programs were recently announced. Vaita Guillaume of Campbell University and Liberty's Robert Karlsson were named PING All-Americans by the Golf Coaches Association of America, while Liberty head coach Jeff Thomas has been named to the Virginia Collegiate Golf Coaches Association (VCGCA) Coach of the Year for the second year in a row.
Guillaume, an honorable mention selection, is the first Campbell men's golfer to earn All-America honors on the Division I level.
"This is the candle on top of the cake," said Campbell head coach John Crooks. "Vaita has had a great career and certainly this past year has been special with five wins, leading the country in par-4 scoring, being named player of the year in the conference and at the University. Being named All-American is the next logical step. I'm proud of Vaita. Like I've told a lot of people, if you only meet one person associated with Campbell, Vaita is a good one to have met because he certainly represents us well."
The Big South Conference Player of the Year and a PING All-Southeast Region choice, Guillaume finished in a 3-way tie for top individual honors May 19 at the NCAA Greensboro Regional at 3-under par 213. He won a play-off on the first hole with Matt Schovee of SMU to earn the NCAA Championship individual berth.
Guillaume was the first Campbell player to advance to the NCAA men's golf championship since the program moved to NCAA Division I status in 1977-78. He is the lone Camel player to play in three NCAA regionals (2009 team berth, individual bids in 2011 and 2012) and one of only five to make a regional appearance.
He finished in a tie for 77th place (75-77-72-224) at the NCAA Championship medal play event held at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
In addition to his triumph at the Greensboro Regional, Guillaume won top individual honors this year at the Georgetown Intercollegiate, Kiawah Classic, Bash at the Beach and the Wofford Coca-Cola Invitational.
He led all Big South Conference players in stroke average and ranked 10th nationally. Guillaume stood second in the country in par-4 scoring average (3.97) and ninth in score vs. par (-0.78). He tied the school 18-hole record (64) in the second round of the Wofford Coca-Cola Invitational. He also shot 64s in the 2010 Mardi Gras Invitational and the 2011 Charleston Shootout.
Guillaume, who was named to the 2012 Big South All-Conference first-team, earned all-league honors in each of his four seasons with the Camels. He was tabbed second-team All-Conference in the Atlantic Sun in his first three years while also earning A-Sun all-freshman team recognition. He is one of three players in Campbell's Division I era (since 1977-78) to gain all-league honors four times, joining Duane Bock (1988-91) and Braxton Wynns (2001-04).
Karlsson was named to the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA)/PING All-America third-team squad, giving the men's golf program its first-ever All-America honoree. Earlier this month, Karlsson was named to the GCAA/PING All-Region East team for the second year in a row and was a Golfweek All-America selection as well.
Karlsson led the Flames to their second straight Big South title and helped Liberty complete the best postseason run in program history.
Late in the 2011-12 season, Liberty won three consecutive tournaments, including the title at the 2012 Big South Men's Golf Championship and a three-stroke victory over Florida at the NCAA Greensboro Regional.
The Flames then took their success to the national level and finished in 10th place at the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship. Liberty fell one shot short of forcing a three-way tie for the eighth and final spot in the match play round of the championship event.
Karlsson captured two individual titles during Liberty's successful late season run, including his second career medalist honor at the Big South Men's Golf Championship. Karlsson led the Flames on the season with a 71.6 stroke average and posted 10 Top 10 finishes in 13 events this past year, including eight Top 5 finishes. Karlsson finished the season ranked No. 28 in the country by Golfweek and No. 35 by Golfstat.
As a team, the Flames finished the 2011-12 campaign ranked No. 28 by Golfweek and No. 21 by Golfstat, the highest season-end rankings in program history.
He recently completed a successful run at the 2012 British Amateur, where he advanced to the quarterfinal round before falling to this year's eventual champion. A total of 288 amateur players entered the event, which was contested at the Royal Troon and Glasgow-Gailes Golf Clubs in Troon, South Ayshire, Scotland.
Following the successful run at the British Amateur, Karlsson now ranks as the No. 23 amateur in the world, as listed in the latest World Amateur Golf Rankings published by the R&A and the USGA.
Karlsson will officially complete his final collegiate-related event this week when he plays for the European team in the 2012 Palmer Cup at The Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, Northern Ireland, through Saturday. This is the second year in a row Karlsson has been a member of the European team for the annual Ryder Cup-style competition between the top collegiate players in the world.
In addition to Thomas's honor, Liberty had three representatives on the VCGCA All-State team. Karlsson and Chase Marinell earned first-team honors, while Niklas Lindstrom took home second-team honors.
Thomas led the Flames to three straight victories late in the season, including a second consecutive Big South Men's Golf Championship title and a three-shot victory over Florida to capture the 2012 NCAA Greensboro Regional title. In its first-ever national championship appearance, the Flames finished 10th at the 2012 NCAA Men's Golf National Championship at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
The 10th place finish was the highest Division I national championship finish by any program in Liberty's history. The Flames finished one shot shy of forcing a three-way playoff for the eighth and final spot in the match play portion of this year's national championship event.
Marinell followed his Big South Freshman of the Year season with five Top 10 finishes during the 2011-12 season, spotlighted by a fifth place finish at the Big South Men's Golf Championship. The sophomore ranked third on the team with a 73.7 stroke average.
Lindstrom doubled his total number of rounds played from his freshman season and posted three Top 5 finishes and his first collegiate individual title. He finished second on the team with a 73.2 stroke average, a figure that was 2.7 strokes per round lower than his freshman average.