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Golf Set to Defend Big South Men's Golf Championship Titles

April 20, 2013
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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No. 18 hole at The Patriot Golf Club, host of the 2013 Big South Men's Golf Championship.

No. 1 seed Liberty heads into the 2013 Big South Men's Golf Championship looking to defend its last two men's golf titles next week at The Patriot Golf Club in Ninety Six, S.C.

The Flames have controlled the pace of play at the conference championship event the last two years. Liberty claimed its first-ever Big South golf title with a 31-stroke victory over Gardner-Webb in 2011 and ended Coastal Carolina's run of seven-consecutive conference championship victories.

Last year, three teams were able to best The Patriot Golf Club and post under-par team scores, led by Liberty's conference championship record 20-under par 844. Coastal Carolina finished in second place with a 10-under par 854, followed by Charleston Southern's five-under par 859.

Liberty has had the last three individual medalists at the Big South Men's Golf Championship.

Robert Karlsson, the program's first-ever All-American, claimed the individual title first in 2010 with a seven-under par 209 (73-70-66). Last year, he jumpstarted Liberty's postseason run that led to a 10th place team finish at the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship when he won medalist honors with a 10-under par 206 (69-68-69).

In 2011, senior Preston Dembowiak claimed his first collegiate medalist honor with a seven-under par 209 (70-66-73), beating his own teammate Max McKay by four strokes (213).

With the graduation of Karlsson, the Flames will look to leadership from junior Chase Marinell, who is currently ranked No. 76 in the country by Golfstat. After winning Big South Freshman of the Year honors in 2011, he finished 11th at the championship event, followed by a fifth place championship finish in 2012.

Marinell, a two-time Big South all-conference honoree, leads the Flames and ranks fourth in the Big South with a 71.31 stroke average. The junior has saved some of his best golf for the spring, with a spring scoring average 1.32 strokes below his fall average (73.08 to 71.76). He leads the team with five top 10 finishes this season.

Niklas Lindstrom is coming off one of his more impressive showings of the season, where he finished tied for fourth place at the Morris Invitational. The junior fired a four-under par 209, tying a career 54-hole low in a tournament field that included 11 Top 50 programs.

Lindstrom circled The Patriot Golf Club for the first time in 2012. He spotlighted Liberty's second-straight team title with an eight-under par 64 during the second round of play. He has been named Big South Men's Golf of the Week a conference-best four times this season.

Much like Marinell, Fenasse has used the spring season to prepare himself for this year's championship event. After averaging 76.67 strokes per round during the fall, the sophomore has three Top 10 finishes in the spring and is averaging 72.88 strokes per round.

Fenasse opened last year's Big South Conference championship event stroke, carding pars on 33 of his first 36 holes of golf. He struggled during the final round and finished in 29th place with an eight-over par 224 (71-72-81).

Ian McConnell is having the best year of his three-year career Liberty and ranks fourth on the team with a 74.21 stroke average. The Riverview, Fla., native got his first shot at The Patriot Golf Club last year and finished tied for 12th place with a one-over par 217 (73-72-72).

His 2012-13 season has been spotlighted by a second-place finish at the Rees Jones Invitational during the fall, an event Liberty won by 24 strokes over East Carolina and 26 over South Carolina.

After struggling with some swing adjustment last year that kept him out of the championship event, 2010 Big South Freshman of the Year Max McKay returns to The Patriot Golf Club for the third and final time.

McKay is coming off a second-place finish as an individual at Longwood's Manor Intercollegiate, where he carded a one-over par 217 (73-72-72). The senior has played four of his six career rounds at the Big South Men's Golf Championship under par and enters next week's event with a 71.7 stroke average on the Davis Love, III, designed golf course.

The Big South Conference office will provide hole-by-hole live scoring throughout the championship event via the Golfstat live scoring system.

Additionally, @LibertyFlames (official Twitter feed for Liberty Athletics) will be on the course with live updates. During the three-day event, @LibertyFlames will follow a different Liberty golfer around the par-72, 7,120-yard course as the Flames pursue their third Big South Men's Golf Championship title in a row.

The winner of the 2013 Big South Men's Golf Championship will receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Golf Regional. The national championship qualifying event will be held at six courses around the country, May 16-18.

Liberty's Big South Championship history at The Patriot Golf Club (Ninety Six, S.C.)
2005: 295-298-303-896 (3rd/+32)
2006: 302-306-301-909 (6th/+45)
2008: 301-319-306-926 (5th/+62)
2009: 318-294-310-922 (2nd/+58)
2010: 304-288-281-873 (3rd/+9)
2011: 290-277-289-856 (1st/-8)
2012: 280-275-289-844 (1st/-20)
Team Scoring Avg.: 296.5

Liberty's No. 1 Golfer
Chase Marinell – (Jr., Fort Myers, Fla.)
2012-13 Season Avg.: 72.31
2012 Fall Avg.: 73.08
2013 Spring Avg.: 71.76
Career Avg.: 72.96
Big South Men's Golf Championship history:
Scoring Avg.: 72.5
2011: 77-71-75-223 (T11th/+7)
2012: 67-71-74-212 (5th/-4)

Liberty's No. 2 Golfer
Niklas Lindstrom – (Jr., Kalmar, Sweden)
2012-13 Season Avg.: 73.59
2012 Fall Avg.: 73.42
2013 Spring Avg.: 73.71
Career Avg.: 73.91
Big South Men's Golf Championship history:
Scoring Avg.: 71.0
2012: 75-64-74-213 (T6th/-3)

Liberty's No. 3 Golfer
Mathieu Fenasse – (So., Lias, France)
2012-13 Season Avg.: 74.19
2012 Fall Avg.: 76.67
2013 Spring Avg.: 72.88
Career Avg.: 74.20
Big South Men's Golf Championship history:
Scoring Avg.: 74.7
2012: 71-72-81-224 (29th/+8)

Liberty's No. 4 Golfer
Ian McConnell – (Jr., Riverview, Fla.)
2012-13 Season Avg.: 74.21
2012 Fall Avg.: 74.89
2013 Spring Avg.: 73.80
Career Avg.: 74.28
Big South Men's Golf Championship history:
Scoring Avg.: 74.7
2012: 73-72-72-217 (T12th/+1)

Liberty's No. 5 Golfer
Max McKay – (Sr., Jacksonville, Fla.)
2012-13 Season Avg.: 74.38
2012 Fall Avg.: 73.83
2013 Spring Avg.: 74.70
Career Avg.: 73.76
Big South Men's Golf Championship history:
Scoring Avg.: 71.7
2010: 78-69-70-217 (T4th/+1)
2011: 71-69-73-213 (2nd/-3)