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Flames Takes Title at Sea Best Invitational

February 4, 2014
|  Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
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Niklas Lindstrom's third place individual finish helped Liberty finish tied for first place at the Sea Best Invitational to open the Flames' spring season.

A two-team race finished in a tie, but thanks to the Flames' strong final day push, Liberty was declared the winner of the 2014 Sea Best Invitational on Tuesday afternoon.

No. 37/36 Liberty (Golfstat/Golfweek) and North Florida distanced themselves from the rest of the 16-team field and both finished tied for first with a 22-over par 886 following 54 holes of action at the famed TPC Sawgrass – THE PLAYERS Stadium Course.

However, tournament officials declared Liberty (296-293-297) the victor based upon its final round nine-over par 297 on Tuesday. North Florida (298-284-304) posted a final round 16-over par 304 and was one of the 13 teams in the field that shot a double-digit over-par score on the day.

The win marked Liberty's 23rd NCAA Division I team title and the first since the Flames claimed the title at the Rees Jones Invitational in Daufuskie Island, S.C., on Oct. 2, 2012.

Finishing a distance third place was No. 9/5 Texas A&M, who carded a 36-over par 900 (306-295-299). No. 48/46 Tennessee, last year's tournament champion, finished in fourth place with a 40-over par 904 (304-297-303).

North Florida's Austin Padova (72-70-74) and Texas A&M's Greg Yates (75-70-71) tied for first place individually. The pair circled the home course of the PGA Tour and the site of THE PLAYERS Championship three times at even par.

Liberty's Niklas Lindstrom (71-74-73) finished tied with Texas A&M's Ben Crancer (71-72-75), the 86-man field's top ranked individual golfer, with both players carding a two-over par 218.

Lindstrom overcame an early bogey and double bogey with two backside birdies to post his second top five finish of the 2013-14 season.

The Flames' Mathieu Fenasse (74-73-75) finished four shots behind Lindstrom and shared fifth place with three other golfers at six-over par 222.

A birdie at the par-4, No. 6 hole got the junior back to one-over on the day, but he closed with bogeys on two of his final four holes to slip back to three-over par for his final round.

Ian McConnell finished in solo 12th place with an eight-over par 224 (76-72-76). The senior bookended four-over par rounds after bogeying the par-4, No. 11 hole and posting a double bogey on the par-4, No. 15 hole on Tuesday.

Harrison Winger (75-77-73) finished one shot behind McConnell and shared 13th place with East Carolina's Eric Brady (72-80-73) and USC Upstate's Adam Goins (80-71-74). All three golfers finished the tournament with a nine-over par 225.

Chase Marinell (WD-74-76), Liberty's final starting golfer in the tournament, closed with a four-over par 76 on Tuesday, but did not place in the tournament after his first round score was disqualified this morning following a ruling.

Jacob Mast, Liberty's sixth golfer in the field, competed as an individual and he finished tied for 76th place with a 36-over par 252 (88-78-86).

The Flames will return to the "Sunshine State" for their second of three-straight, Florida-based tournaments when they participate in Florida's Gator Invitational. The two-day, 54-hole event will be played at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, Fla., on Feb. 15-16.