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Flames Prepare for Seahawk Invitational
The Flames will return to the golf links on Sunday to a familiar location, as they head back to the Country Club of Landfall for the 2012 Seahawk Invitational.
This will mark the second year in a row the Flames have participated in the UNC Wilmington hosted event at the par-72, 6,946-yard course.
Last year, the Flames battled it out with the host Seahawks, with UNC Wilmington claiming a four stroke victory over Liberty. The Seahawks carded a 15-over par 879 (290-293-296), while Liberty fired a 19-over par 883 (303-285-295).
The Flames finished the event five strokes ahead of Wake Forest (291-287-310), who was ranked No. 25 coming into the event, and East Carolina (294-286-308).
Eight of the teams in this year's 12-team field return from last year's event, including the top four finishers from the 2011 tournament.
The two-day, 54-hole event will be contested on the Nicklaus Course, named in honor of its designer. The par-72, 6,946 yards trek was opened just over 20 years ago, with Jack Nicklaus playing the initial round on Sept. 6, 1990.
Designed to preserve and enhance the natural character of the land, the course takes advantage of Landfall's abundant saltwater and freshwater marshes, as well as panoramic views of Howe's Creek and the Intracoastal Waterway. The Nicklaus course features rolling fairways, strategic sand and grass bunkers, smooth Bentgrass greens and water on 12 holes.
The Flames enter the event as one of the top four ranked programs. The 12-team field is paced by Chattanooga, who is ranked No. 26 in the latest Golfweek rankings and No. 22 in the most recent Golfstat rankings.
No. 31/33 Liberty falls second in the ranked team listing, followed by No. 45/41 Wake Forest and No. 51/45 East Carolina.
The top ranked individual golfer in the field comes from the Chattanooga roster in Stephan Jaeger. The senior, who hails from Munich, Germany, is ranked No. 10 in the latest Golfweek individual rankings and was recently named to the 2012 Ben Hogan Award Watch list.
Liberty's Robert Karlsson is the next ranked individual in the field, as the Flames' top senior comes into the event ranked No. 27 by Golfweek and No. 40 by Golfstat.
The Kalmar, Sweden, native is fresh off winning his third Big South Golfer of the Week honor after a ninth place finish at the SunTrust Gator Invitational. The senior carded a five-over par 215 (69-72-74) and posted his 26th Top 10 finish in 39 collegiate events (66.7 percent).
Two other Flames posted Top 30 finish in the field that featured 10 Top 50 ranked programs. Mathieu Fenasse (72-75-75) and Ian McConnell (74-73-75) tied for 30th place with a 12-over par 222.
Head coach Jeff Thomas' starting five of Karlsson, McConnell, Fenasse, Max McKay and Chase Marinell will head out in twosomes along with golfers from Drexel.
A Saturday morning shotgun start has Liberty hitting holes No. 14, 15, 16 and 17, starting at 8:45 a.m. The second round will begin shortly after the conclusion of the first, while a final 18 holes will be played on Sunday to determine this year's Seahawk Invitational victor.
2012 Seahawk Invitational
(Golfweek/Golfstat Team Rankings)
Chattanooga (No. 26/22)
Davidson (No. 117/112)
Drexel (No. 277/269)
East Carolina (No. 51/45)
George Mason (No. 232/203)
James Madison (No. 177/181)
Liberty (No. 31/33)
Old Dominion (No. 131/118)
South Carolina (No. 78/82)
UNC Wilmington (No. 88/92)
VCU (No. 124/114)
Wake Forest (No. 45/41)
Top 125 Individual Golfers in the Field
(Golfweek Individual Rankings)
No. 10 – Stephan Jaeger (Chattanooga)
No. 27 – Robert Karlsson (Liberty)
No. 47 – Harold Varner (East Carolina)
Country Club of Landfall (Wilmington, N.C.)
Par 72, 6,946 yards