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Flames Set for Familiar Run at Cleveland Golf Palmetto Invite
After an aggressive spring schedule that included two West Coast trips, Liberty heads back to more familiar grounds for next week's 16th annual Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate on Monday and Tuesday.
Since returning from Christmas break, No. 29/34 Liberty (Golfweek/Golfstat) has made two cross-country trips to play in events hosted by Arizona and USC/Pepperdine. Additionally, the Flames returned to the "Sunshine State" for an event hosted by Florida.
Liberty's best finish at the three events was in its last, a fourth-place showing at the North Ranch Intercollegiate in Westlake Village, Calif. The Flames carded a 29-over par 881 (285-295-301) and shot their third-highest team score of the year thanks to final round winds that saw only two of the 12 teams break 300.
Next week, Liberty continues its spring schedule at an event where the Flames have played the last four-consecutive seasons.
The Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate will be contested at the Palmetto Golf Club, a par-70, 6,617-yard course in Aiken, S.C.
The Palmetto Golf Club was founded in 1892 by Thomas Hitchcock, who started with four holes where the course's current practice range and No. 16, 17 and 18 holes currently stand. The course is recognized as the fourth oldest golf course in the United States.
The course was expanded to 18 holes in 1895 and has held tournaments that were won by golfing legends Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson.
Each time at the USC Aiken hosted event, Liberty has posted a top four finish, spotlighted by a runner-up showing in 2009. During its four-year run at this event, Liberty has posted a 289.42 team stroke average, including three rounds at a three-over par 283.
Last year, Liberty finished in fourth place with a 27-over par 867 (291-290-286), 13 strokes behind Clemson who bested the 18-team field with a 14-over par 854 (286-285-283).
The Tigers (No. 23/22) return to defend their team title this year and will face another 18-team field that features a trio of Top 50 programs, six Top 75 ranked teams and the No. 3 ranked Division II program in the country (tournament host USC Aiken).
Four of the five golfers who helped the Flames finish in fourth place during last year's event return for another three rounds at the Palmetto Golf Course.
Niklas Lindstrom led Liberty's returning four last year, finishing the event tied for 14th place with a seven-over par 217 (73-74-70). The junior currently ranks second on the Flames' roster with a 73.48 stroke average and is tied for the team lead with three top five finishes.
Liberty is currently led by fellow junior Chase Marinell with a 72.43 stroke average, three top five finishes and top 10 finishes in four out of seven events during the 2012-13 season.
Marinell led the Flames in the team's last event, finishing in third place with an even par 213 (68-74-71) at the North Ranch Intercollegiate. Marinell has played in two previous Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiates, finishing tied for 11th in 2011 (70-71-73-214/+4) and tied for 31st place in 2012 (72-73-76-221/+11).
Max McKay also has played in two previous Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiates, spotlighted by a fourth place finish as a freshman in 2010 (71-65-74-210/E). In 2011, he finished tied for 58th place with a 17-over par 227 (72-80-75) and he was not part of Liberty's starting five at last year's tournament.
On the season, the senior ranks fourth on Liberty's roster with a 74.29 stroke average and tied for second with three top 10 finishes.
The last two golfers who will be starting for head coach Jeff Thomas at this year's Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiates both played in last year's tournament.
Mathieu Fenasse finished tied for 31st place with an 11-over par 221 (76-72-73) and Ian McConnell tied for 40th place with a 13-over par 223 (72-77-74).
Fenasse is coming off his first top 10 finish of the year, as he tied for seventh place at the North Ranch Intercollegiate with a five-over par 218 (73-70-75). On the year, the sophomore is averaging 75.17 strokes per round.
McConnell had his fifth-consecutive top 30 finish of the year at the North Ranch Intercollegiate with a 12-over par 225 (72-74-79). The junior ranks third on the team this year with a 74.11 stroke average.
Live stats will be provided through Golfstat.com during all three rounds of the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate. Additionally, @LibertyFlames (official athletics Twitter feed) will be providing hole-by-hole coverage of a different Liberty Flames golfer during each of the rounds at the 54-hole event.
The two-day event will have a shotgun start on Monday at 9 a.m., where the 18-team field will play 36 holes. The final 18 holes will be contested on Tuesday, starting at 9 a.m., as well.
16th Annual Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate
(Golfweek/Golfstat Team Rankings)
Akron (No. 105/105)
Augusta State (No. 59/55)
Clemson (No. 23/22)
Elon (No. 189/185)
Francis Marion (No. 154/159)
Furman (No. 162/156)
Georgia State (No. 86/91)
Liberty (No. 29/34)
Maryland (No. 99/106)
Nebraska (No. 140/140)
N.C. State (No. 66/50)
Penn (No. 199/200)
Presbyterian College (No. 204/202)
South Carolina (No. 36/35)
USC-Aiken (No. 3 – Division II)
Virginia (No. 58/56)
Western Carolina (No. 131/121)
Wofford (No. 167/160)
Potential Top 125 Individual Golfers in the Field
(Golfweek Individual Rankings)
No. 10 – Albin Choi (N.C. State)
No. 45 – Sean Bosdosh (Maryland)
No. 46 – Dykes Harbin (South Carolina)
No. 54 – Stephen Behr (Clemson)
No. 59 – Chase Marinell (Liberty)
No. 61 – Jonathan Gray (Georgia State)
No. 64 – Denny McCarthy (Virginia)
No. 70 – Cody Proveaux (Clemson)
No. 103 – Charlie Bull (Akron)
Division II Golfstat Individual Rankings
No. 54 – Matt Atkins (USC Aiken)
No. 72 – J.P. Solis (USC Aiken)
Palmetto Golf Club (Aiken, S.C.)
Par 70, 6,617 yards