LIBERTY FINISHES 6TH AT SUNTRUST GATOR INVITATIONAL
The Liberty Flames were unable to find their same opening-day stroke on Sunday, falling back two spots to finish in sixth-place at the SunTrust Gator Invitational.
No. 30/35 Liberty's (Golfweek/Golfstat rankings) starting five only managed to card a combined three birdies during the closing 18 holes of play, finishing in sixth place with a 38-over par 878 (290-288-300).
No. 2/2 Auburn continued its solid play on Sunday, cruising to a 16-stroke victory over No. 9/8 Arkansas, who completed the low round of the day with a seven-over par 287.
Auburn captured the team title with an aggregate eight-over par 848 (279-281-288), followed by Arkansas' 24-over par 864 (288-289-287).
No. 33/33 Florida, playing on its home Mark Bostic Golf Course, finished in third place with a 25-over par 865 (278-287-300).
Rounding out the top five teams were a pair of "Sunshine State" programs. No. 19/21 UCF finished in fourth place with a 31-over par 871 (291-291-289), followed by No. 20/17 Florida State finishing fifth with a 33-over par 873 (285-293-295).
The Flames did manage to finish ahead of two teams who came into the weekend event ranked ahead of them in the latest Golfweek and Golfstat listings.
No. 29/29 UAB took seventh place with a 42-over par 882 (294-292-296), followed by No. 12/12 North Florida, who took eighth place with a 43-over par 883 (290-302-291).
The outcome of the 54-hole event marked the second straight tournament Liberty has finished ahead of North Florida, after the pair of teams finished second and third, respectively, in January's SeaBest Seafood Invitational.
Only two players managed to circle the par-70, 6,704-yard trek three times below par, with both closing the event with level par rounds of 70 on Sunday.
Dominic Bozzeli of Auburn, who is currently ranked No. 18 in the country by Golfweek, captured individual medalist honors with an eight-under par 202 (68-64-70).
Hometown favorite T.J. Vogel, ranked No. 7 in the country, took second place with a three-under par 207 (66-71-70) on his home Gator course.
Robert Karlsson, ranked No. 23 in the latest Golfweek listing, finished with Liberty's lowest round of the day and best placement in the two-day event.
The two-time Big South Golfer of the Year finished tied for ninth place with a five-over par 215 (69-72-74). He birdied his final hole of the event to overcome a day that saw him post four bogeys and a double bogey on the par-4, No. 18 hole.
Ian McConnell (74-73-75) and Mathieu Fenasse (72-75-75) nearly mirrored each other on Sunday and finished the event tied for 30th place with a 12-over par 222. Both Liberty golfers carded five bogeys and 13 pars on the day.
Max McKay got off to a tough start, as he was three-over after three holes on Sunday, and eventually finished tied for 35th place with a 13-over par 223 (77-70-76).
Chase Marinell tied his highest 18-hole total of his Liberty career on Sunday, a score that was not helped by four straight bogeys on holes No. 11, 12, 13 and 14. The sophomore finished the event tied for 61st place with a 19-over par 229 (75-73-81).
The Flames will return to the golf links on Feb. 26-27 to a familiar course to participate in the 2012 Seahawk Intercollegiate. The 54-hole event will once again be played at Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C., a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.
COASTAL CAROLINA PLACES 13TH AT SAN DIEGO INTERCOLLEGIATE
The Coastal Carolina men's golf team placed 13th in the 15-team San Diego Intercollegiate, played at the 7,033-yard, par 72 San Diego Country Club. The Chanticleers posted a 54-hole score of 930 (310-315-305) over the two-day event.
The field, featuring seven top 50 teams in the nation of which four are ranked among the nation's top five, was led by champion Washington (284-299-287=870). The fifth-ranked Huskies defeated ninth-ranked Southern California by seven strokes and third-ranked UCLA by 14.
For the third time this season, Sebastian Soderberg led the Chanticleer contingent, tying for 40th. He carded rounds of 76-78-75 for a total of 13-over par 229. The junior did post 11 birdies over the two days, the sixth-best production in the field. Soderberg closed his second round Tuesday morning with two bogeys and a double. However, he rebounded to start his third round with four pars. Later, he birdied the par 5 eight and closed his round with a five pars for his three-over 75.
Charlie Winegardner opened the event with a seven-over 79. He bounced back in the second round with three birdies and would post a three-over 72. He also had three birdies in round three, but a double bogey on the par four fifth and a bogey on his final hole, the par four 15th, led to a five-over 77. The senior tied for 48 with a three-round total of 231.
Freshman Peter Valasek tied for 62nd, carding rounds of 76-82-78 for a total of 236. He had no birdies in his second round for an 82. He started his third round with a bogey and double bogey, but was just two over the rest of the way for his six-over 78.
Kevin Vanden Heuvel and Ben Wheeler each tied for 68th with a 23-over par score of 239. Vanden Heuvel shot rounds of 79-80-80, while Wheeler turned in rounds of 81-83-75. Wheeler had the most consistent final round with 12 pars. He birdied his first hole of the third round, the par four 17th, before posting a double bogey on the 18th. He finished his round with the 11 pars, adding three bogeys and two birdies for a 75.
Up next for Coastal Carolina is the annual John Hayt Collegiate, hosted by North Florida, Feb. 27-28. The team will be making its second trip to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., this spring, but the Hayt Collegiate will be played at Sawgrass Country Club. Coastal opened the spring portion of its schedule playing the Sea Best Invitational at the PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.