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Golf Finishes Border Olympics in Fifth Place
Individual medalist winner Michael Whitehead of Rice blistered the Laredo Country Club course on Saturday, helping his squad leapfrog the Flames on the leaderboard and see Liberty close out the tournament in fifth place.
Whitehead carded a 10-under par 62 on Saturday, helping the No. 50-ranked golfer climb over first-day leader Sebastian Cappelen of Arkansas to capture his first collegiate victory.
Whitehead finished the 54-hole event at the par-72, 7,125-yard trek with a 19-under par 197 (68-67-62). Cappelen, ranked one spot below Whitehead at No. 51, finished with a 17-under par 199 (69-64-66).
No. 18 Arkansas and No. 28 Oklahoma entered Saturday's final round tied atop the leaderboard. However, the Razorbacks were able to card their second team score in the 270s, posting a nine-under 279 on Saturday to secure the team championship.
Arkansas captured its third-straight team title and fourth of the season, finishing the event with a 32-under par 832 (280-273-279).
Oklahoma closed with a four-under par 284 and finished in second place with a 27-under par 837 54-hole total (271-282-284). No. 57 Baylor followed behind the Sooners with an 18-under par 846 (287-275-284).
Rice rounded out the teams that finished ahead of Liberty, with each carding a team total in the 270s during the two-day event. The Owls closed with a 14-under par 274 and finished in fourth place with a 16-under par 848 (292-282-274).
Despite posting their third-lowest 54-hole total of the season and all three of their rounds ranking among the team's Top 10 season 18-hole totals, the Flames finished in fifth place.
Thirty players in the 100-man field finished in red figures, including four of the Flames' five starters.
Max McKay led the charge for the Flames, as the sophomore finished tied for 15th place with a four-under par 212 (68-70-74). A birdie on the par-5, No. 17 hole put the sophomore in a position to post his third sub-par round, but McKay double bogeyed the par-4, No. 18 hole and finished with a two-over par 74. This mark's McKay's second-straight four-under par 212 at an event, after tying for seventh place last week with the same score at the UCF's Rio Pinar Invitational.
Robert Karlsson followed one shot behind McKay and shared 18th place with a three-under par 213 (68-75-70). The field's top-ranked golfer at No. 24 coming into the week, Karlsson rebounded from his third-highest 18-hole total of the season on Saturday thanks to three birdies on the closing eight holes.
Preston Dembowiak (72-72-71) and Chase Marinell (74-70-71) carded one-under par 71s on Saturday to finish the two-day event tied for 27th place with a one-under par 215.
Dembowiak, who came into the event ranked No. 213 in the country, found red figures thanks to a birdie on the par-5, No. 17 hole, marking his third birdie of the afternoon.
Marinell, ranked No. 206 in the country, closed the event with a birdie, double bogey, eagle, bogey sequence to post his third sub-par tournament finish of his freshman season.
Ian McConnell started the final round out nicely with a birdie on his opening hole, the par-4, No. 4; however, a stretch of play that saw the rookie post four bogeys and two birdies over a seven-hole run eventually forced him into a share for 57th place with a seven-over par 223 (72-76-75).
The Flames will return to the golf course on April 8-9 in Wallace, N.C., to participate in the River Landing Invitational at the River Landing Golf Club.
The UNC Wilmington-hosted event will serve as Liberty's final tune-up for the Big South Men's Golf Championship for the second year in a row.