Kamito Hirai's Individual Title Highlights Men's Golf Action

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WINTHROP'S HIRAI WINS C&F BANK INTERCOLLEGIATE; RADFORD FIFTH, WINTHROP EIGHTH AND HIGH POINT NINTH IN TEAM STANDINGS
Winthrop men's golfer Kamito Hirai captured his first collegiate championship after firing a 5-under-par 211 to win the 54-hole C&F Bank Intercollegiate and lead the Eagles to an eighth place finish in the 29-team field at the Kingsmill Resort River Course.

Hirai entered the final day of action two shots behind co-leaders Jace Long of Missouri and Sebastian Backlund of Francis Marion after firing rounds of 72 and 70 on Sunday and Monday.  Hirai surged past the leaders by firing the lowest round of the day with a 69 which was only equaled by Winthrop teammate Jordan Sease.

With Hirai and Sease leading the way, the Eagles charged back from a 19th place tie after 36-holes to shoot a low team score of the day at 287 and finished with a 890 (303-300, 287) and just one shot behind seventh place Eastern Kentucky.

Sease finished second for the Eagles and tied for 20th overall at 221 (72-80-69).  Sophomore Walt Todd tied for 43rd at 225 (76-76-73).  Finishing fourth for Winthrop was sophomore Damon Postal at 234 (80-78-76) which placed him 104th while senior Brandon Truesdale tied for 126th after finishing with a 240 (81-79-80).  

In the conclusion of the 35th annual C&F Bank Intercollegiate, the Radford men's golf team took home a fifth-place showing Tuesday afternoon and Weston Eklund wrapped up the three-day event in fifth as well.

Eklund shot a two-over 73 over the final 18 holes and held his fifth-place position from a day ago.  He wrapped up the event with a three-over 216.  This year, Eklund has concluded 54 holes of play with a 216 or better in five out of seven events.  Overall, Radford (289-297-296) combined to shoot an 882 and finished fifth amongst 29 teams.  Radford pushed its head-to-head season record to 84-43-1.

Starting the day in 28th, Michael Wade used three birdies compared to just one bogey to propel 20 positions up the leaderboard and join Eklund in the Top-10 with an eighth-place performance.  His two-under 69 tied for the lowest score of the day and was his fifth round in the 60's this year.  He also became the first Highlander to shoot sub-70 since the Hummingbird Intercollegiate in November.

Callum Tarren and Wade Wawner each carded a final-round 77.  Tarren finished in a tie for 35th with a 223, while Wawner charted Radford's fourth score with a 229, earning a tie for 71st.

The High Point University men's golf team shot a combined 304 on Tuesday and finished in ninth place out of 29 teams with a three-day score of 891 in Williamsburg, Va.  Senior Curtis Brotherton carded a one-over 72 to end the tournament as HPU's top finisher.

Brotherton had two birdies on Tuesday and finished in a tie for 20th with a 54-hole score of 221.  The senior finished two-strokes ahead of junior Chase Wilson who shot a 75 on in the final round and finished in a tie for 35th with a score of 223 (79-69-75).

Freshman Sam Stewart shot a 78 in the third round to finish in a tie for 41st with a three-day total of 224 (79-76-78) while fellow freshman Charles Valluzzo carded a 79 and finished in a tie for 76th with a 54-hole score of 230 (76-75-79).  Senior Thomas McLellan turned in an 84 in the final round and finished in a tie for 109th with a three-round score of 235 (72-79-84).

Missouri led the team standings wire-to-wire, shooting 294 on Tuesday to finish in first with a three-day combined score of 870.  UNC Greensboro and Old Dominion tied for second, two-strokes back of the Tigers with matching scores of 872.  Francis Marion finished in fourth with a score of 880 while Radford ended the tournament in fifth with a score of 882.

Winthrop's next tournament will be April 5-7 when the Eagles compete in the River Landing Intercollegiate in Wallace, N.C.  High Point and Radford will be off next week before heading to Spartanburg, S.C. to play in the Coca-Cola Invitational beginning on April 9.  The two-day, 54-hole tournament will be hosted by Wofford at the Country Club of Spartanburg.

LIBERTY SEVENTH, CHARLESTON SOUTHERN TIES FOR NINTH AT LINGER LONGER INVITATIONAL
Liberty posted the best of its three rounds of the weekend on Sunday, helping the Flames move up the leaderboard on the final day of the Linger Longer Invitational.

No. 31/31 Liberty (Golfweek/Golfstat) closed its final round at the Kennesaw State and Mercer-hosted event with a three-over par 291.  The Flames' best effort on The Great Waters Golf Club allowed Liberty to finish the 54-hole event in seventh place with a 25-over par 889 (292-306-291).

No. 2/7 Alabama circled the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course with a tournament best 14-under par 274 on Sunday to wrap up its second straight team victory at the tournament. The Crimson Tide won the event with a 26-under par 838 total (278-286-274).  No. 26/25 Georgia took second place, finishing 14 shots behind Alabama, despite finishing with a 12-under par 852 final score (290-279-283).

A pair of Top 30 individually ranked golfers made a charge to try to capture medalist honors, as No. 18 Cory Whitsett of Alabama and No. 21 Stephan Jaeger of Chattanooga were a combined 12-under par on the day to climb up the leaderboard.  Georgia's Nick Reach was also able to find red numbers with a four-under par 68 on Sunday to secure a playoff position with Whitsett. Reach (71-69-68) and Whitsett (73-71-64) finished the event with matching eight-under par 208 totals, with Whitsett winning the individual title on the fourth playoff hole.

Four out of five of Liberty's players posted improved rounds over their second round score to help the Flames move up the leaderboard on Sunday.

Niklas Lindstrom was in position to give Liberty a pair of golfers in red figures on Sunday, as the sophomore stood at three-under par through 13 holes.  However, three bogeys and a double bogey during a four-hole stretch dropped him back to two-over par on the day and five-over par 221 (70-77-74) to finish the event in 30th place.

Ian McConnell followed one shot behind Lindstrom to tie for 31st place with a six-over par 222 (74-73-75).  The sophomore managed to card two birdies and an eagle on the par-5, No. 6 hole, but followed with five bogeys and a double bogey to score a three-over par 75 on Sunday.

Mathieu Fenasse posted his third sub-70 round as a Flame on Sunday, helping him secure a share of 35th place with a seven-over par 223 (77-77-69).  The freshman bogeyed the par-4, No. 10 hole, his starting hole, but followed with 13 pars and three birdies to card Liberty's lowest round on the par-72, 7,073-yard course during the weekend.

Robert Karlsson rebounded from his eight-over par 80 during the second round to post a one-over par 73 on Sunday and finish tied for 37th place with an eight-over par 224 (71-80-73).  On Sunday, Karlsson carded five bogeys and four birdies.

Liberty's final golfer on the course was Max McKay, who closed with his second straight improved round to finish in 69th place with a 23-over par 239 (84-79-76).

David Denlinger and Jacobo Pastor paced the Charleston Southern men's golf team to a tie for ninth place at the at the Linger Longer Invitational, hosted by Kennesaw State at Great Waters Golf Course in Eatonton Ga., on Sunday.  The Bucs tied South Alabama at 32 over par.  CSU shot 297-310-298-896, finishing two strokes behind eighth-place Charlotte.

The duo finished tied for 16th place overall with scores of 216 to end the day on par.  Denlinger shot 70-73-73-216 and birdied twice in the third round.  Pastor carded 73-74 in the first two rounds before recording five birdies to shoot a 69, moving from 24th place to 16th on the final day of action.

Freshman Choo Teck Ng placed 57th, shooting 16 over.  Ng shot 74-81-77-232 with two birdies on the front nine of the third round.  Ross Thomson was close behind, shooting 80-76-79-235 to finish 63rd.  Thomson eagled the 18th hole of the third round.  Will Pieper did not earn a final placing after being disqualified in the first round, but shot 78-80 in the final two.

The Buccaneers will take a short break before heading out to the 24th Annual Coca-Cola Wofford Invitational, hosted by the Terriers at the Country Club of Spartanburg on April 9 and 10.  Liberty's final regular-season event will be on April 8-9, when the Flames travel to Wallace, N.C., to participate in the River Landing Intercollegiate. The East Carolina-hosted event will be played at the River Landing Golf Club in Wallace, N.C.