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Karlsson Stands in Third at NCAA Regionals

May 20, 2010
|  New Haven, Conn.
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Robert Karlsson posted a four-under par 66 on Thursday during the opening round of the 2010 NCAA New Haven Regionals to find himself in third place.

Robert Karlsson posted a four-under par 66 on Thursday during the opening round of the 2010 NCAA New Haven Regionals to find himself in third place.

LibertyFlames Twitpic Day 1 Recap

A bogey-free round has Liberty's Robert Karlsson in contention following the first day of action at the 2010 NCAA New Haven Regionals on Thursday, which is being contested at The Course at Yale.

Following the first 18 holes of action, Karlsson (So., Kalmar, Sweden) finds himself in third place in the 75-man field, as he fired a four-under par 66 on the par-70, 6,749-yard Yale golf course. Liberty's second golfer at the NCAA regional event, Max McKay, is tied for 18th place after an even-par 70.

Karlsson, who is competing in his second-straight NCAA Men's Golf Regional, carded one birdie on the front nine and three sub-par holes on the backside.

The sophomore first got into red numbers following a short six-foot birdie putt on the par-3, No. 5 hole, marking his lone birdie on the opening nine.

Birdies on No. 10 and 12, both of which included uphill shots where Karlsson fired blindly to the green, enabled the sophomore to get to three-under par. Following a lengthy par-saving putt on No. 17, Karlsson tamed the closing No. 18 hole, a 612-yard par-5, with a downhill birdie putt to close out his round of 66.

The opening round 66 marks a 16-stroke improvement for Karlsson over his opening round at last year's NCAA Men's Golf Regional. Playing in his first collegiate postseason event, Karlsson opened the NCAA East Regional at the Galloway National Golf Club in Galloway, N.J. with a 10-over par 82, which had him in a share of 55th place.

The Big South Golfer of the Year is two shots off the overall pace after his second round of 66 this year, as he and the field is currently chasing Texas' Cody Gribble, who is ranked No. 32 in the country according to the latest Golfstat collegiate rankings. The Longhorn golfer posted a six-under par 64, as he also posted a bogey-free card on Thursday.

Four birdies and an eagle on No. 18 offset a bogey on No. 11, allowing East Tennessee's Rhys Enoch to post a five-under par 65, allowing the No. 76 ranked golfer to lay claim to second place following day one action at the NCAA New Haven Regional.

Birdies on four of the first eight holes allowed McKay (Fr., Jacksonville, Fla.) to quickly climb up the leaderboard early in the day. However, the first-time Regional participant posted a two-over par 38 on the closing nine holes, allowing the Big South Freshman of the Year to share 18th place with eight other golfers following an even-par 70.

Rounding out the Top 5 in the elite field of collegiate golfers is UCLA's Alex Kim, Kent State's Kevin Miller and Penn State's Kevin Foley, each of whom fired opening rounds of three-under par 67.

Texas, the second-best ranked program in the 14-team field at No. 7, currently leads the team standings. The Longhorns posted a six-under par 274 score, and are three shots ahead of Penn State and Kent State, each of which recorded a three-under par 277.

No. 32 East Tennessee State finds itself in fourth place following a two-under par 278, while No. 29 Alabama is seven shots off the pace after a one-over par 281. No. 6 UCLA, the No. 1 seed coming into the event, is tied with No. 19 Virginia for sixth place at two-over par 282.

Karlsson and McKay, along with the other 73 remaining players, will return to The Course at Yale tomorrow morning for the middle rounds of the three-day NCAA New Haven Regional.

The winning team at the NCAA New Haven Regional, along with the top individual not on the championship squad, will advance to the NCAA National Championship in Chattanooga, Tenn., on June 1-6.

McKay is scheduled to go off the No. 10 tee, an uphill par 4 that measures 396 yards in length, at 10 a.m. Karlsson will follow McKay 20 minutes later, closing out the last set of golfers who will start their second rounds off the backside of the course.

As it did today, LibertyFlames.com will be out on the course following Liberty's golfers at this year's NCAA Men's Golf Regional. On Friday, the web site will be following McKay throughout his 18 holes of action, posting hole-by-hole updates on the LibertyFlames Twitter page.