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Flames Finish Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate in Fifth Place

March 12, 2013
|  Aiken, S.C.
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Chase Marinell was one of two Flames to finish tied for sixth place, posting his fifth Top 10 finish of the season.

No. 29/34 Liberty carded the third-best team round of the final 18 holes of the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate on Tuesday, but it was not enough to keep pace with eventual tournament champion Augusta State.

The Jaguars, winners of the NCAA Division I men's golf national championship in 2010 and 2011, bested the par-70, 6,617-yard Palmetto Golf Club with a two-over par 282. The score allowed Augusta State to claim the team title by seven strokes behind its winning score of 16-over par 856 (284-290-282).

Day one leader South Carolina 36/35 (Golfweek/Golfstat) outdistanced the next four teams, which finished within five shots of each other, to claim a runner-up finish in the 18-team field. The Gamecocks posted a 23-over par 863 (287-283-293).

N.C. State (284-287-293) and No. 23/23 Clemson (285-292-287) shared third place, finishing four strokes ahead of the Flames at 24-over par 864.

Liberty posted its fifth consecutive top five finish at the USC Aiken-hosted event, as the Flames carded a 28-over par 868 (288-289-291). Liberty led the 18-team field with 44 total birdies and was a tournament-best 16-under par on the pair of par-5 holes.

Virginia rounded out the top six teams in the field, finishing five strokes behind Liberty with a 33-over par 873 (291-283-299).

Only six players in the 90-man field were able to post a score of par or better on Tuesday, including individual medalist Matt Atkins. The hometown favorite from tournament host USC Aiken closed with an even par 70 to win by two strokes with an overall four-under par 206 (68-68-70).

Overnight leader Mac McLaughlin of Virginia was not able to keep up his torrent pace from yesterday afternoon that saw him post the low 18-hole total at this year's event. The Cavalier golfer had six bogeys and three birdies to close with a three-over par 73 and finish two strokes behind Atkins with an overall two-under par 208 (71-64-73).

Two other players finished the 54-hole event in red figures, as Augusta State's Maverick Antcliff (70-73-66) and South Carolina's Matthew NeSmith (68-69-72) shared third place with a one-under par 209.

Four players finished the event tied for sixth place with a two-over par 212, including two of Liberty's starting five golfers – Chase Marinell (78-68-72) and Mathieu Fenasse (70-70-72).

Marinell, ranked No. 59 in the country coming into the event, started out strong, as he birdied the par-4 No. 2 hole to quickly go under par for the tournament.

However, the junior bogeyed three of his final five holes of the opening nine to make the turn at two-over par.

Marinell turned things around, starting with a birdie on the par-5 No. 10 hole after nearly reaching the green on his second shot. Two holes later, the junior sank an uphill 10 foot putt for birdie to level his score once again on the day.

Marinell tried to make one last charge down the stretch, but he bogeyed two of the hardest holes at the fourth oldest golf course in the country to halt his run at medalist honors.

He was short on the par-4 No. 13 hole and could not get up and down to post bogey. Marinell suffered the same fate at the par-3 No. 16 hole, one of the original holes when the course opened in 1892, to fall back to two-over par on the day.

It marked Marinell's fifth top 10 finish of the season and his best career finish in three appearances at the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate.

Fenasse matched Marinell and recorded his second consecutive top 10 finish of the year. The sophomore led the 90-man field with 13 birdies, including four during his closing round.

Max McKay finished the tournament tied for 32nd place with a 13-over par 223 (71-74-78). The senior tied his second-best career round at the Palmetto Golf Club during the morning flight on Monday, but was unable to keep up the pace during his closing 36 holes of play.

Ian McConnell matched his opening round on Monday with a second five-over par 75 on Tuesday. The junior finished the event tied for 56th place with an 18-over par 228 (75-78-75).

Following his second-highest 18-hole total of the year on Monday morning, Niklas Lindstrom continued to improve and finished with a two-over par 72 on Tuesday. Overall, the junior finished the event tied for 65th place with a 21-over par 231 (82-77-72).

The Flames will return to tournament play in two weeks when they return to the Linger Longer Invitational on March 23-24.

Last year, the Mercer and Kennesaw State event, hosted at the Great Waters Golf Club in Greensboro, Ga., was the last tournament Liberty did not claim victory at before closing the season with three team tournament victories that pushed the Flames into a Top 10 finish at the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship.