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Liberty Finishes Sixth at SunTrust Gator Invitational
The Liberty Flames were unable to find their same opening-day stroke on Sunday, falling back two spots to finish in sixth place at the SunTrust Gator Invitational.
No. 30/35 Liberty's (Golfweek/Golfstat rankings) starting five only managed to card a combined three birdies during the closing 18 holes of play, finishing in sixth place with a 38-over par 878 (290-288-300).
No. 2/2 Auburn continued its solid play on Sunday, cruising to a 16-stroke victory over No. 9/8 Arkansas, who completed the low round of the day with a seven-over par 287.
Auburn captured the team title with an aggregate eight-over par 848 (279-281-288), followed by Arkansas' 24-over par 864 (288-289-287).
No. 33/33 Florida, playing on its home Mark Bostic Golf Course, finished in third place with a 25-over par 865 (278-287-300).
Rounding out the top five teams were a pair of "Sunshine State" programs. No. 19/21 UCF finished in fourth place with a 31-over par 871 (291-291-289), followed by No. 20/17 Florida State finishing fifth with a 33-over par 873 (285-293-295).
The Flames did manage to finish ahead of two teams who came into the weekend event ranked ahead of them in the latest Golfweek and Golfstat listings.
No. 29/29 UAB took seventh place with a 42-over par 882 (294-292-296), followed by No. 12/12 North Florida, who took eighth place with a 43-over par 883 (290-302-291).
The outcome of the 54-hole event marked the second straight tournament Liberty has finished ahead of North Florida, after the pair of teams finished second and third, respectively, in January's SeaBest Seafood Invitational.
Only two players managed to circle the par-70, 6,704-yard trek three times below par, with both closing the event with level par rounds of 70 on Sunday.
Dominic Bozzeli of Auburn, who is currently ranked No. 18 in the country by Golfweek, captured individual medalist honors with an eight-under par 202 (68-64-70).
Hometown favorite T.J. Vogel, ranked No. 7 in the country, took second place with a three-under par 207 (66-71-70) on his home Gator course.
Robert Karlsson, ranked No. 23 in the latest Golfweek listing, finished with Liberty's lowest round of the day and best placement in the two-day event.
The two-time Big South Golfer of the Year finished tied for ninth place with a five-over par 215 (69-72-74). He birdied his final hole of the event to overcome a day that saw him post four bogeys and a double bogey on the par-4, No. 18 hole.
Ian McConnell (74-73-75) and Mathieu Fenasse (72-75-75) nearly mirrored each other on Sunday and finished the event tied for 30th place with a 12-over par 222. Both Liberty golfers carded five bogeys and 13 pars on the day.
Max McKay got off to a tough start, as he was three-over after three holes on Sunday, and eventually finished tied for 35th place with a 13-over par 223 (77-70-76).
Chase Marinell tied his highest 18-hole total of his Liberty career on Sunday, a score that was not helped by four straight bogeys on holes No. 11, 12, 13 and 14. The sophomore finished the event tied for 61st place with a 19-over par 229 (75-73-81).
The Flames will return to the golf links on Feb. 26-27 to a familiar course to participate in the 2012 Seahawk Intercollegiate. The 54-hole event will once again be played at Country Club of Landfall in Wilmington, N.C., a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.
Liberty finished last year's event second to tournament-host UNC Wilmington. The Flames fired a 19-over par 883 (303-285-295), which was four strokes behind the Seahawks' 15-over par 879 (290-293-296).