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River Landing to Serve as Big South Tune-Up
No. 32 Liberty will return to the golf links one more time before it contends for the Big South Men's Golf Championship, as the Flames are slated to tee it up at this weekend's River Landing Intercollegiate.
The two-day, 54-hole event is hosted by No. 51 East Carolina at the River Landing Golf Club in Wallace, N.C. The par-72, 6,997-yard trek, located 35 miles outside of Wilmington, N.C., has hosted 11 U.S. Open qualifiers and has been named the No. 1 North Carolina coastal golf course three times since 2004.
The 14-team field including two other Top 50 program beside the Flames and four other programs ranked between No. 51 and 75.
The pair that ranks ahead of the Flames are familiar foes for the 2010-11 season, as Liberty has previously squared off against No. 19 Virginia and No. 22 N.C. State.
Liberty (862) finished two shots behind the Cavaliers (860) at the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate, taking two of the top three spots in the 18-team field March 7-8. Alabama, who is currently ranked No. 2 in the country, took the event by 11 strokes (849).
During the Flames' following event, Liberty took second place at the Rio Pinar with an 18-under par 846, finishing 15 strokes ahead of N.C. State's three-under par 861. Host UCF took the team title, winning the 54-hole event by five strokes (841) on its home course.
The field will also feature five Top 100 individual ranked golfers, including Liberty's Robert Karlsson, who currently ranks No. 44.
The junior has bested three of the four other Top 100 golfers in the field in head-to-head matches this year.
At the Rio Pinar Invitational, Karlsson finished tied for first with a 12-under par 204, beating N.C. State's Albin Choi (213), who is ranked No. 36, and the Wolfpack's Mitchell Sutton (220), who is ranked No. 56.
At the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate, Karlsson finished tied for ninth with a three-under par 213. Virginia's Ben Kohles, who is ranked No. 20, finished tied for 17th with a one-over par 217 and fellow teammate Amory Davis, is ranked No. 80, finished 16th with an even par 216. East Carolina's Harold Varner, who enters this weekend ranked No. 72, took second place with a 10-under par 206.
The hottest golfer on Liberty's roster is sophomore Max McKay, who was last week's Big South Men's Golfer of the Week. The "Sunshine State" native earned the honor after tied for 15th place at the Border Olympics in Laredo, Texas, March 25-26.
McKay carded a four-under par 212, his second-straight 212. At the Rio Pinar Invitational, McKay was one of three Flames to finish inside the Top 10, as he shared seventh place with the same four-under par score.
The back-to-back under-par scores have lowered McKay stroke average by nearly one full stroke (0.84), as he now ranks sixth in the Big South with a 73.59 stroke average.
Liberty's Preston Dembowiak and Chase Marinell continue to hold steady in the Golfstat individual rankings.
Dembowiak, who ranks No. 197, is coming off a one-under par 215 showing at the Border Olympics and now ranks fifth in the Big South with a 73.33 stroke average.
Marinell, who is listed at No. 205 by Golfstat, tied Dembowiak at the Border Olympics with a one-under par 215 and is the top ranked freshman in the Big South with a 72.90 stroke average.
2011 River Landing Intercollegiate Field
(Golfstat Team Rankings)
East Carolina (No. 51)
Jacksonville (No. 141)
Lamar (No. 71)
Liberty (No. 32)
Maryland (No. 119)
Memphis (No. 74)
N.C. State (No. 22)
Old Dominion (No. 183)
Seton Hall (No. 191)
St. John's (No. 149)
UNC Wilmington (No. 57)
USC Upstate (No ranking)
Virginia (No. 19)
Winthrop (No. 147)
Potential Top 250 Individual Golfers in the Field
(Golfstat Individual Rankings)
No. 20 – Ben Kohles (Virginia)
No. 36 – Albin Choi (N.C. State)
No. 44 – Robert Karlsson (Liberty)
No. 56 – Mitchell Sutton (N.C. State)
No. 72 – Harold Varner (East Carolina)
No. 80 – Amory Davis (Virginia)
No. 140 – David Watkins (East Carolina)
No. 142 – Will Collins (Virginia)
No. 158 – Brandon Detweiler (N.C. State)
No. 162 – Jonathan Fly (Memphis)
No. 185 – Payne McLeod (UNC Wilmington)
No. 189 – John Popeck (Maryland)
No. 191 – Kevin Hesbois (Lamar)
No. 197 – Preston Dembowiak (Liberty)
No. 205 – Chase Marinell (Liberty)
No. 212 – Ben Rusch (Virginia)
No. 215 – Jack Belote (Memphis)
No. 220 – M.J. Daffue (Lamar)
No. 225 – Chad Day (N.C. State)
No. 228 – Josh Brock (UNC Wilmington)
River Landing Golf Club (Wallace, N.C.)
Par 72, 6,997 yards