Liberty Wins 2012 Big South Men's Golf Championship

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NINETY SIX, S.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) - Liberty won its second consecutive Big South Conference Men's Golf Championship in record fashion on Wednesday, as the Flames finished with an all-time Championship-low 54-hole team aggregate score of 844.  Liberty won the event by 10 strokes, which was contested at The Patriot Golf Club at Grand Harbor (Par 72, 7,120 yards) in Ninety Six, S.C. 

The final round has hampered by rainy conditions, which included a rain delay of 2 hours and 42 minutes two hours after play started.  Play resumed at 12:55pm and the scores suffered because of the wet weather.  Just three golfers broke par on Wednesday and Liberty had the lowest team score with a 1-over 289 to maintain its 36-hole lead.  Coastal Carolina finished runner-up to the Flames with a 10-under 854 -- the third-lowest 54-hole total in Championship history, while Charleston Southern was third with a 5-under 859.  It is the first time in the history of the Big South Men's Golf Championship that three teams finished under par.

Liberty senior Robert Karlsson, who entered the final round tied for second and four shots behind 36-hole leader Daniel Kim, managed the elements and carded a 3-under 69 to take home medalist honors with a 10-under 206 (69-68-69).  Karlsson is the third two-time individual champion in League history, as he was the Championship Medalist as a sophomore in 2010.  He joins Winthrop's Kevin Pendley (1997 and 1998) and Coastal Carolina's Zack Byrd (2005 and 2009) as multiple Conference champions.

Kim, who tied the Championship's 18-hole record with a 63 on Tuesday, struggled with a 3-over 75 on Wednesday but still claimed individual runner-up honors with his 8-under 208 (70-63-75).  Charleston Southern's Jacobo Pastor had a 69 on Wednesday to jump from a tie for 11th to third-place at 6-under 210 (72-69-69).  In all, 10 players finished the tournament under par.

The final team standings did not change following the second round.  Campbell, which returned to the Big South after 17 years in the Atlantic Sun, finished fourth at 866, while host Winthrop was fifth at 879.  Gardner-Webb finished in sixth-place with an 885, ahead of Radford's 892.  High Point claimed eighth-place with its 896.  Presbyterian College finished at 900 for the 54-hole event, but the Blue Hose are not eligible for the Conference championship until next season and its team and individual results do not officially count in the standings this year due to its transition process to Division I.

Earning All-Conference honors based on their play in the Conference Championship were Kim, Liberty's Chase Marinell, Coastal Carolina's Roberto Ballesteros, Liberty's Niklas Lindstrom and Charleston Southern's Ross Thomson.  The five join Karlsson, Pastor, Coastal Carolina's Sebastian Soderberg, Campbell's Vaita Guillaume and Gardner-Webb's Kristopher Gray, who were voted to the team for their regular-season play and were announced on Sunday.

In addition, the Big South announced its Men's Golf annual award winners on Wednesday afternoon.  The awards were voted on by the head coaches prior to the Championship and are based on regular-season performance.  Guillaume was voted Golfer of the Year -- becoming the fifth Campbell player to receive the honor, while Coastal Carolina's Ben Wheeler was voted Freshman of the Year, the Chanticleers' first honoree since 2008 and fourth overall.  Charleston Southern head coach Mike Wilson was voted Coach of the Year, and Campbell's Mitch Gray was voted Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the Big South's Sports Information Directors. 

The Flames will now await their NCAA Regional assignment at one of six locations in the nation.  The Regionals will be conducted May 17-19, 2012.  Below are the final team and individual results, as well as the Men's Golf award recipients.

FinalTeam Leaders     FinalIndividual Leaders  
1.Liberty280-275-289 = 844 1.Robert Karlsson, Liberty69-68-69 = 206-10
2.Coastal Carolina285-273-296 = 854 2.Daniel Kim, Gardner-Webb70-63-75 = 208-8
3.Charleston Southern285-279-295 = 859 3.Jacobo Pastor, Charleston Southern72-69-69 = 210-6
4.Campbell289-279-298 = 866 4. Sebastian Soderberg, Coastal Carolina71-68-72 = 211-5
5.Winthrop291-289-299 = 879 5.Chase Marinell, Liberty67-71-74 = 212-4
6.Gardner-Webb292-289-304 = 885 T-6.Niklas Lindstrom, Liberty75-64-74 = 213-3
7.Radford301-294-297 = 892  Roberto Ballesteros, Coastal Carolina71-69-73 = 213-3
8.High Point305-293-298 = 896  Ross Thomson, Charleston Southern69-70-74 = 213-3
** Presbyterian College 311-294-295 = 900  9. Charlie Winegardner, Coastal Carolina69-68-77 = 214-2
    10.David Denlinger, Charleston Southern72-69-74 = 215-1


All-Conference Team 
Vaita Guillaume, Sr., Campbell
Robert Karlsson, Sr., Liberty
Jacobo Pastor, Sr., Charleston Southern
Sebastian Soderberg, Jr., Coastal Carolina
Kristopher Gray, Sr., Gardner-Webb
Daniel Kim, Jr., Gardner-Webb
Chase Marinell, Soph., Liberty
Roberto Ballesteros, Soph., Coastal Carolina
Niklas Lindstrom, Soph., Liberty
Ross Thomson, R-Soph., Charleston Southern
 
All-Academic Team
Mitch Gray, Sr., Campbell
David Denlinger, Jr., Charleston Southern
Sebastian Soderberg, Jr., Coastal Carolina
Kristopher Gray, Sr., Gardner-Webb
Chase Wilson, Jr., High Point
Max McKay, Jr., Liberty
Matt Sizemore, Jr., Presbyterian College
Callum Tarren, Soph., Radford
Damon Postal, Soph., Winthrop

Championship Medalist
Robert Karlsson, Sr., Liberty

Golfer of the Year
Vaita Guillaume, Sr., Campbell

Freshman of the Year
Ben Wheeler, Coastal Carolina

Coach of the Year
Mike Wilson, Charleston Southern

Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Mitch Gray, Sr., Campbell