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Fourth-Place Showing for LU in Season Finale
Liberty, along with nine other programs, could not keep up with the torrid pace set by tournament champion Virginia on Sunday, during the final round of the Cavalier Classic, hosted at the Birdwood Golf Course.
Virginia, currently ranked No. 23 in the latest Golfweek team rankings, ran away with the team title, as the Cavaliers bested the field of 11 teams by 20 strokes to claim their seventh title in the 23-year history of their own home event.
During the final day, the Cavaliers carded an impressive four-under par 284 to finish the 36-hole event with an aggregate one-under par 575 (291-284) on the par-72, 6,875 trek. Virginia finished six shots clear of its nearest competitor on Saturday (Seton Hall) and 11 shots ahead of its nearest foe on Sunday (Longwood).
Seton Hall was able to hold onto its second-place standing following the final round, as the Pirates were the tournament's distant runner-up with a 19-over par 595 (297-298).
Longwood had the second-best round of the final day to leap over top of the Flames in the team standings. The Lancers captured third place with a 23-over par 599 (304-295), finishing one shot ahead of Liberty's 24-over par 600 (298-302).
Rounding out the top five programs in the field was No. 34 N.C. State, as the Wolfpack posted a 25-over par 601 final tally (303-298).
The Cavaliers' top-ranked finish was due in part to the play of Ben Kohles, who finished the day and the tournament four-under par. After carding an even par 72 yesterday, the sophomore posted four birdies on the front side Sunday and made the score stand to capture his third title of the season with a four-under par 140 (72-68).
Day one leader Brandon Park, the 2010 BIG EAST Freshman of the Year from Seton Hall, was the only other golfer to finish the two-day event in red numbers, as he posted a two-under par 142 (69-73).
Binghamton's Jake Katz was one of only eight golfers to break par on Sunday and his two-under par 70 helped him finish in third place with an even par 144 (74-70).
Robert Karlsson (73-72) was Liberty's top golfer in the event, as the sophomore shared fourth place with a pair of Virginia golfers, Amory Davis (73-72) and Mac McLaughlin (74-71). The trio finished the event with a one-over par 145.
Karlsson, who is coming off an individual title at last week's Big South Men's Golf Championship, has now posted a top five finish in seven out of 11 events this season.
While Karlsson was able to better his score from day one to the second day, three of Liberty's remaining four starters could not make the same claim.
Max McKay fell from a tie for 10th place to a share of 25th place, as the Big South Freshman of the Year was six-over par on the day and eight-over par for the event (74-78-152).
Preston Dembowiak matched McKay's six-over par score on Sunday and fell 11 spots down the leaderboard to finish in a tie for 33rd place with a 10-over par 154 (76-78).
Stephen Dooley was the only Flame besides Karlsson to show improvement on the second day, as the junior tied his third-best 18-hole total of the spring with a two-over par 74. The seven-shot improvement helped Dooley jet up the leaderboard 16 spots to finish in a tie for 37th place with an 11-over par 155 (81-74).
Rounding out Liberty's starting five was Jordan Frye, who struggled on the final day and finished the event tied for 59th place with a 17-over par 161 (75-86).
Liberty also had a pair of individuals competing in the event, as Chris Watters finished tied for 27th place with a nine-over par 153 (77-76) and Andrew Nelson shared 33rd place with a 10-over par 154 (77-77).
The event marked the conclusion of the Flames' 2009-10 regular season, wrapping up the most successful year in program history.
Coming into the week, Liberty was ranked No. 86 in the latest Golfweek team rankings, the program's highest team ranking at this point in the season.
Next week, Liberty will learn if the successful run this year will garner the program a third trip to the NCAA Regionals as an at-large team.
The Flames accomplished the feat in 2003 and 2006, when Liberty was part of one of the northern regional listings. Since 2006, the NCAA has realigned the collegiate golf regions and the Flames now find themselves in a much more competitive southern regional.
Liberty is guaranteed at least individual representation at this year's NCAA Regionals, as Karlsson's victory at last week's Big South Men's Golf Championship secured the sophomore's second-straight postseason trip with the automatic individual bid.
If Liberty does not make the NCAA Regionals as a team, Karlsson might have a playing partner in McKay. The freshman came into the week as the top-ranked player in the Big South in the latest Golfstat weekly rankings at No. 89, a listing that is strongly used by the NCAA Selection Committee for individual at-large bids.
The team and individual competitors for the 2010 NCAA Regionals, which will be hosted at six different sites, will be announced at 6 p.m. on May 10 via a teleconference.