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Flames Finish Liberty Match Play Invitational with 2-0 Record

April 5, 2014
|  Amherst, Va.
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B.J. Kuhn opened Liberty's strong showing at the Liberty University Match Play Invitational with a 9 & 7 victory during the morning flight.

Hosting their first tournament since 2009, Liberty posted a perfect 2-0 record to finish atop the team standings in the Liberty University Match Play Invitational, Saturday, at Poplar Grove Golf Course.

During the morning flight, the Flames dispatched George Mason, 5 & 1, before rallying on the back nine during the afternoon rounds to claim a 4 & 2 victory over James Madison.

James Madison was pitted against Liberty during the afternoon after posting a 4.5 & 1.5 victory over Radford during the morning. However, the Highlanders snapped back during the afternoon rounds to post a 5.5 & 0.5 victory over George Mason.

The Flames were able to overcome cooler conditions and a brisk wind during the morning rounds, winning five of their six matches.

Liberty received its first point of the match play event when B.J. Kuhn won his match over George Mason's Wes Liu, 9 & 7, capped off by Kuhn chipping in for eagle on the par-5, 524-yard No. 12 hole.

Mathieu Fenasse (4 & 3) and Niklas Lindstrom (5 & 4) also posted sizeable victories, while Chase Marinell and Ian McConnell rounded out Liberty's morning victors with 2 & 1 wins.

Fenasse was three-up after six holes of play after getting up and down near the green at the par-5, No. 6 hole. The junior closed out his match by birdieing the par-4, No. 14 hole to down George Mason's Mark Folkwein.

McConnell made the turn three up, only to see his playing partner, Kyle Hart, square the match up at the par-3, No. 13 hole. However, McConnell posted wins at No. 15 and 16 and closed out the 2 & 1 win with a par at the par-3, No. 17 hole.

The windy conditions at the par-72, 7,059-yard Sam Snead designed course calmed down during the afternoon flight, making for much tighter competition between the two winning teams from the morning rounds.

The lone sizeable victory in the Liberty vs. James Madison match was Ben Firebaugh's 7 & 5 victory over Kuhn to put the first points on the board for the Dukes.

Four of the last five matches between the two teams went the complete 18 holes of play, with Liberty winning two matches on the final hole and the Flames halving the other two matches.

A par at the par-4, No. 14 hole helped swing Harrison Winger's match into his favor, which he eventually was able to win 1-up.

Fenasse and McConnell each halved their matches against the Dukes' Poom Pattaropong and Tucker Koch, respectively.

Fenasse claimed back-to-back holes at No. 10 and 11 and then matched Pattaropong stroke-for-stroke during the last seven holes of play.

McConnell swung his match against Koch in his favor with wins at No. 11 and 13, but Koch knotted the match with a win at the par-3, No. 17 hole to secure the half point for his team.

Lindstrom, who was down one with eight holes to play, had a birdie from the bunker at the driveable par-4, No. 14 hole to square his match. The senior then won his last two holes thanks to a great approach within three feet at the par-5, No. 16 and a five-foot par putt at No. 17 to secure his 3 & 1 victory.

The final match of the day and the determining one in the team results between Liberty and James Madison came down to the par-4, No. 18 green.

Marinell was down to James Madison's Ryan Cole early, but used a 12-foot bending birdie putt on the par-4, No. 12 to move in front of Cole. The two golfers matched each other shot-for-shot down the stretch and Marinell was able to secure his team's victory with a par on the closing hole.

The Flames will play their final regular season tournament of the year next Saturday and Sunday when they travel to Columbus, Ohio. Liberty's final tune-up before the 2014 Big South Men's Golf Championship will be the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate, hosted by Ohio State at its own Ohio State Golf Course on April 12-13.