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Thomas Signs McConnell and Marinell
"I am very excited to have Ian and Chase joining the Liberty golf program," stated Thomas. "They are solid Christian young men who will be great additions to the team.
"It speaks well to the state of our program and athletics department that this quality of player believes fully in what Liberty is trying to accomplish and trusts us to make them better players, students and men," continued the fifth-year head coach. "Ian and Chase will help us reach our goals of competing at the national level and winning conference championships."
Ian McConnell (Riverview, Fla.)
Ian McConnell is a homeschooled student-athlete from Riverview, Fla., where he has maintained a 3.71 high school GPA.
He is the top ranked graduating senior in the state of Florida and the No. 10 ranked graduating senior in the country, as listed by Golfweek. Currently, the Sunshine State native is listed at No. 28 in the latest Golfweek junior national rankings.
An AJGA Rolex All-America honorable-mention award winner, McConnell has already recorded several Top 15 finishes in prestigious national events. He finished third at the Verizon Junior Heritage and ninth at the FootJoy Invitational with three sub-70 rounds.
"Ian is a great player and competitor," remarked Thomas about McConnell. "He is a hard worker, which shows by his performance on the course and in the classroom. He may be the most dedicated golfer I have seen in junior golf.
"He has been successful at the national level and is one of the top players in the country. He brings experience to the team and I expect Ian to make an immediate impact on the program's progress."
McConnell placed 11th at the Junior Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. He has qualified for the 2008 and 2009 U.S. Public Links Championship and participated in the 2006 USGA Boys Junior Amateur Championship.
"Ian McConnell is prepared to make an immediate impact on the Liberty golf program," remarked Shane Gillespie, the Master Instructor at the Inner Circle of Golf Academy. "He will be bringing his intense work ethic and desire to excel at Liberty University.
"Ian is excited to help this team win golf tournaments and to help it become a top-rated national contender. It will be exciting to watch the Liberty Flames and Coach Thomas as he continues to develop the talented players he has at Liberty University."
Chase Marinell (Fort Myers, Fla.)
Chase Marinell, who hails from Fort Myers, Fla., is currently a senior at Bishop Verot High School. When he signed with Liberty, Marinell's Junior Golf Scoreboard national ranking was No. 70 in the country.
Marinell was a 2009 participant in the USGA Boys Junior Amateur Championship, qualifying for the event with a one-under par 143 (70-73).
"Chase is a nice fit for our program. He is a very likeable guy and fun to be around," commented Thomas. "He is an athletic golfer who has had a nice junior career which includes some very impressive wins. Chase is the kind of player who has not yet reached his potential and with the right structure, he can blossom into a very special player.'
Over the past two seasons, Marinell has captured two individual titles, winning medalist honors at the 2009 Nolan Henke-Patty Berger Junior Masters Championship in Fort Myers, Fla. and the 2008 First American Title Junior Classic in Tampa, Fla. Another notable finish for Marinell was sixth-place finish at the 2009 AJGA Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior in Ashland, Ky.