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Final Day Surge Pushes Bulldogs over Flames
The two-team battle between Liberty and Georgia for the title at the ODU-Outerbanks Collegiate Golf Tournament came down to the final few holes on Wednesday.
Georgia was able to close stronger than the Flames, getting three birdies during the final three holes, allowing the Bulldogs to climb over top of Liberty and capture the team title on the Kilmarlic Golf Course.
While the rest of the 18-team field failed to break par on the final day, the Flames and the Bulldogs combined to fire rounds totaling 20-under par.
Georgia, who was ranked No. 28 coming into the event in the latest Golfstat team ranking, bested the Flames by four strokes on Wednesday and three strokes overall to win the tournament with a 30-under par 834 (271-287-276).
The Flames, who were ranked No. 37 in the latest Golfstat team listing, posted their third sub-par round and closed out the event in second place with a 27-under par 837 (281-276-280).
The three-day total ties Liberty's 54-hole program record, matching an 837 the Flames posted at the James Madison Invitational on Oct. 10-11, 2005.
Tournament host Old Dominion finished a distant third, posting a six-over par 870 (289-292-289), followed by Big South foe Winthrop, who took fourth place with a nine-over par 873 (291-286-296).
Georgia's T.J. Mitchell was the wire-to-wire tournament victor, capturing individual medalist honors with a blistering 15-under par 201 (64-70-67).
Liberty's Robert Karlsson finished in second place with a 13-under par 203 (67-68-68), marking the third-best individual 54-hole total in program history. The 203 bested Karlsson's lowest 54-hole total in his Liberty career, as he had previously posted a 204 in the fall of 2009 (Renaissance Invitational) and the spring of 2011 (Rio Pinar Invitational).
Karlsson posted a tournament-best six birdies on the day to offset two bogeys and close out his fall season with a career-low three-round score. The senior's best stretch of holes on Monday came on the back nine, where he birdied four of the first five holes.
A pair of sophomores followed behind Karlsson, helping the Flames secure a second-place finish at the team's last tournament of the fall.
Chase Marinell finished in sixth place with a four-under par 212 (72-67-73). During his closing round, Marinell was at two-under par through 14 holes, but a double bogey on No. 15 followed by a bogey on No. 16 dropped him back to one-over par on the day.
Ian McConnell followed one spot behind Marinell, finishing in seventh place with a three-under par 213 (71-68-74). McConnell got off to a tough start, with double bogeys on two of his first five holes, but was two-under par on the backside to help him secure the Top 10 finish.
Max McKay carded his first sub-70 round since last year's Big South Men's Golf Championship, closing this event with a five-under par 67. The junior had eight birdies on the day, including three on his last six holes to finish the event tied for 20th place with a two-over par 218 (78-73-67).
The Flames' final golfer in the field, Niklas Lindstrom, was able to recapture his first-round showing and closed the event with a level-par 72 to secure a share of 37th place with a six-over par 222 (71-79-72). The sophomore was three over through 11 holes, but closed with four birdies and a final bogey to finish the event with a final-round 72.
The Flames will have the next three months to prepare for their next event, as Liberty will not return to the golf links until the next calendar year.
Liberty will open up its spring schedule on Jan. 30-31 at the famed TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course in Pont Vedra Beach, Fla.
The Flames have played in the Jacksonville-hosted event the past two seasons, finishing in fifth place in 2009 and earning a share of third place at last year's event.