Liberty Enters Final Round of NCAA Championship in 7th Place
Liberty carded one of the top rounds of the day on Wednesday, climbing eight spots up the leaderboard to seventh place following two rounds of play at the 2012 NCAA Men's Golf National Championship.
No. 14 seed Liberty carded a four-over par 288 during the middle round of the 54-hole stroke play portion of the national championship. Only four other programs carded better rounds than Liberty on Wednesday (Washington and USC - 286, Alabama and UCLA - 287).
Liberty enters the final round of stroke play two spots inside the national championship match play cut line, as the top eight programs will advance to the next stage of the event following the conclusion of play tomorrow afternoon.
However, 15 teams will enter the final round of play within nine shots of each other, all vying for one of the coveted top eight positions.
Two programs seem well on their way to advancing, with Alabama leading the 30-team field with a four-over par 572 (285-287), followed by UCLA at eight-over par 576 (289-287).
Florida State begins the 15-team mix that remains in contention, with the Seminoles holding down third place with a 12-over par 580 (290-290).
Oklahoma (289-292) and North Florida (290-291) share fourth place with a 13-over par 581, followed by Washington, who stands in sixth place with a 14-over par 582 (296-286).
Liberty's 15-over par 583 (295-288) trails Washington by one stroke and leads California (295-289), Kent State (293-291) and Florida (288-296) by one shot, who all share eighth place with a 16-over par 584.
Liberty, along with golfers from California and Kent State, will be paired together for the final round of stroke play. Golfers from the three programs will be sent off the No. 10 tee starting at 12:50 p.m. (PST), for one last round of stroke play on the par-71, 7,292-yard Riviera Country Club.
Liberty's five golfers are being led by sophomore Chase Marinell (71-70), who carded a one-under par 70 on Wednesday to share fifth place with two other golfers with a one-under par 141.
Following a three-shot improvement from his first round, Robert Karlsson is now tied for 53rd place with a four-over par 147 (75-72).
Freshman Mathieu Fenasse matched his opening round score on Wednesday, carding his second four-over par 75 and stands tied for 84th place with an eight-over par 150 (75-75).
Liberty's final two golfers in the 156-man field are Ian McConnell (74-80) and Niklas Lindstrom (83-71), who share 124th place with a 12-over par 154.
Marinell is one of seven players currently in red figures and is just four strokes off the overall individual pace. The group is led by Illinois' Thomas Pieters, who carded his second sub-70 round and leads the field with a five-under par 137 (69-68).
UCLA's Anton Arboleda (67-72) and Florida's Tyler McCumber (68-71) are tied for second place with a three-under par 139, followed by Alabama's Justin Thomas, who is in fourth place with a two-under par 140 (70-70).
On the day, Marinell quickly got into red figures, posting a birdie on the lengthy par 4 No. 2 hole. After recording bogeys on No. 5 and 8, Marinell was able to make the turn at level par after a birdie on the par 4 No. 9 hole.
The sophomore continued his birdie trend with under-par scores on holes No. 13 and 17, before giving one back on the home hole at No. 18 to round out his fifth sub-par round this season.
After opening with three-straight pars, Karlsson found some trouble on holes No. 4 and 5 to drop consecutive shots early in his round. On the fourth, Karlsson missed the green right and was not able to get up and down for par, while the senior three-putted the fifth from roughly 25 feet below the hole.
However, Karlsson quickly got one of the shot back after bending in a delicate 12-foot putt from above the hole at the par 3 No. 6.
A run of six consecutive pars was interrupted on No. 13 when Karlsson was right off the green and his chip up fell about seven feet short of the hole, resulting in his third bogey of the day.
Three holes later, Karlsson trimmed his daily deficit in half when the two-time Big South Golfer of the Year chipped in from the fringe for birdie on the par 3 No. 16. After snaking in a 25-foot birdie putt at No. 17, Karlsson closed with a bogey on No. 18 after coming up short on his approach shot to the historic closing hole.
On the day, Karlsson found 8-of-14 fairways off the tee, 10-of-18 greens in regulation and total 29 putts en route to his one-over par 72.
Fenasse dropped a shot for the second straight day at No. 2 and another at No. 6 to fall to two-over on the day. After a birdie on the par 4 No. 7 hole, the freshman posted a double bogey on No. 8 and a bogey on No. 9 to make the turn at four-over for the day.
Fenasse recorded birdies on No. 13 and 17, but sandwiched his under par score on the 17th hole with bogeys on holes No. 16 and 18 to record his second straight four-over par 75.
Lindstrom had the most dramatic turnaround for the Flames from the previous day, after opening the national championship event with a 12-over par 83.
The sophomore's 12-shot improvement got off to a quick start with a birdie on the par 5, No. 1 opening hole. Lindstrom followed with under-par scores on holes No. 5 and 9 to make the turn at three-under par for the day.
Lindstrom bogeyed the short, tough No. 10 hole (315 yards), but quickly got the shot back with his fourth birdie on the day at No. 11. The sophomore would then go on to bogey three of his next four holes to fall back to even par on the day.
McConnell's day got off to a tough start with a bogey at No. 1 after a four-putt and an errant drive at No. 2 that would lead to a double bogey.
During his next 16 holes, McConnell would offset six more bogeys and a second double bogey at No. 5 with birdies on holes No. 7 and 17 to round out his highest 18-hole total of the 2011-12 season.
Live hole-by-hole scoring will continue during the final round of stroke play on Thursday, provided by www.NCAA.com and powered by www.Golfstat.com.
Liberty will continue its social media coverage of the golf team through its Twitter feed, as @LibertyFlames will be providing detailed coverage for one of Liberty's golfers each day throughout the NCAA Championship. Due to NCAA policies on live blogging, @LibertyFlames will be more limited on how many updates it can provide throughout the round.
Finally, www.NCAA.com will also be providing its first of four days of web streaming coverage at the 2012 NCAA Men's Golf Championship on Thursday, starting at 7 a.m. (PST). The web stream will be on select holes throughout the course, including holes No. 10, 14 and 18.