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Flames to Open Spring Season in Arizona
Fresh off a fall season that landed Liberty multiple Top 25 rankings, Liberty's golf program is set to begin the spring portion of its 2012-13 season next Monday and Tuesday at the Arizona Intercollegiate.
The 54-hole event, which is hosted by Arizona, will be contested at the Golf Club at Vistoso in Tucson, Ariz. The event will commence with 36 holes of continuous play on Monday, followed by the final 18 holes of play on Tuesday. Live stats will be provided by GolfStat.com.
The Golf Club at Vistoco is a championship 18-hole golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf, one of more than 40 golf courses designed by the 16-time PGA Tour winner. Par for the course is 71 and the collegiate event will be played on the championship tees, a 6,932-yard layout.
The host Wildcats have won the event six times in its 32-year history, including last season when Arizona posted a 17-under par 835 to win by one stroke over California.
This year's Arizona Intercollegiate field includes three Top 25 ranked programs and six programs who finished the fall season ranked inside the Top 75.
The 15-team field is spotlighted by No. 1 California, who won all five of their team events during the fall and enters the spring with a 70.9 team stroke average.
The Golden Bears are paced by sophomore Michael Kim, who enters the tournament ranked No. 2 in the country by Golfweek. He finished in the Top 10 in all five of California's events during the fall, wrapping up the fall slate with a victory at the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational with a four-under par 212 (67-72-73).
Kim is one of 14 potential golfers in the field who currently rank inside the Top 125 of the final Golfweek rankings of the fall.
Marinell was Liberty's most consistent golfer during the fall, leading the team with a 73.08 stroke average and posting a pair of top five finishes. He has four rounds at par or better during the fall and his top finish was a share of second place at the Rees Jones Invitational.
Lindstrom matched Marinell's two top finishes and finished six strokes ahead of him at the Rees Jones Invitational to post his second career individual victory with a three-under par 213 (73-70-70). The junior ranked second on the team with a 73.43 stroke average during the fall.
Both Marinell and Lindstrom played key roles in Liberty's run to a 10th place finish at the 2012 NCAA Men's Golf National Championship at Rivera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
McKay was not in the mix for last year's national championship run, but the senior has returned strong for his last year on Liberty's roster after a swing adjustment last year.
McKay had three top 10 finished during the fall, spotlighted by a share of second place alongside Marinell at the Reese Jones Invitational, which Liberty won by 24 strokes over East Carolina and 26 over South Carolina.
Liberty finished the fall ranked No. 18 in the final Golfweek rankings and No. 24 in the last GolfStat listing, while garnering the program's second-ever ranking in the Golf World/Nike Golf Division I College Coaches' Poll at No. 21.
2013 Arizona Intercollegiate Field
(Golfweek/Golfstat Team Rankings)
Arizona State (72/72)
Cal State Fullerton (104/99)
Central Arkansas (85/82)
Kennesaw State (53/62)
New Mexico (4/5)
New Mexico State (157/174)
Santa Clara (102/96)
UC Riverside (219/247)
Top 125 Individual Golfers in the Field
(Golfweek Individual Rankings)
No. 2 – Michael Kim (California)
No. 6 – Julien Brun (TCU)
No. 17 – Max Homa (California)
No. 22 – Brandon Hagy (California)
No. 23 – Jimmy Beck (Kennesaw State)
No. 29 – James Erkenbeck (New Mexico)
No. 36 – Gavin Green (New Mexico)
No. 38 – Joel Stalter (California)
No. 63 – Chase Marinell (Liberty)
No. 64 – Jon Rahm Rodriguez (Arizona State)
No. 65 – Victor Perez (New Mexico)
No. 84 – Niklas Lindstrom (Liberty)
No. 87 – Benjamin Bauch (New Mexico)
No. 108 – John Catlin (New Mexico)
No. 116 – Max McKay (Liberty)
The Golf Club at Vistosco (Tucson, Ariz.)
Par 71, 6,932 yards