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Lindstrom Helps Flames Keep BSC Championship Lead
Despite a program best team score and a near course record by Niklas Lindstrom, No. 1 seed lost ground on a record-setting day on Tuesday at the 2012 Big South Men's Golf Championship.
Liberty carded its lowest 18-hole total in its Big South history during the middle round of the three-day event, posting a 13-under par 275. The score bested Liberty's 11-under 277 during the second round of last year's Big South title run for the team.
Today's round was also Liberty's second-best 18-hole total in program history, besting three times Liberty has carded a 276 during the last two seasons.
Despite Liberty's low team score, the Flames dropped two strokes to second-place Coastal Carolina on the day. The No. 3 seed Chanticleers blistered The Patriot Golf Club on Tuesday, recording a Big South Championship best 15-under par 273, with all five of their golfers posting sub-70 rounds of golf.
Liberty will still enter the final round at the par-72, 7,120-yard trek in the lead, as the Flames are three strokes ahead of Coastal Carolina.
Liberty leads the eight-team field with a 21-under par 555 (280-275), the lowest 36-hole total in Big South Championship history.
Three other teams are in red figures, with Coastal Carolina coming in second with an 18-under par 558 (285-273). No. 4 seed Charleston Southern is in third place with a 12-under par 564 (285-279), while No. 2 seed Campbell is in fourth place with an eight-under par 568 (289-279).
Liberty has three of its five golfers currently inside the top six in the 40-man standings. Two-time Big South Golfer of the Year Robert Karlsson is in second place with a seven-under par 137 (69-68), followed by Chase Marinell, who dropped back from his first day lead but is still in a tie for fourth place with a six-under par 138 (67-71).
Lindstrom moved up the leaderboard quickly on Tuesday following a career day. The sophomore was one shot off the course record with an eight-under par 64 to move to a two-day, five-under par total of 139 (75-64).
Lindstrom had the second best round of the day, with Gardner-Webb's Daniel Kim carding a nine-under par 63 to give him a four-stroke lead with an 11-under par 133 (70-63). Kim's 63 on Tuesday ties the Big South 18-hole championship record first set by Liberty's Yong Joo in 2000.
Karlsson carded his sixth sub-par round in his last seven at this championship event in near flawless fashion. The senior had birdies on both the par 5s on the front side and two more birdies on the par 4 No. 14 and 16 holes.
A bogey on the par 3 No. 17 hole snapped a string of 24-straight holes without a bogey, before Karlsson got the stroke right back with a nice chip and putt from the bank in front of the closing par 5 No. 18 hole.
Marinell dropped a shot on the par 3 No. 4 hole, but posted a birdie for the second day in a row on the next hole, the par 5 No. 5. Birdies on No. 8 and No. 12 got Marinell to two-under par for the day, before he bogeyed No. 17 to leave him at one-under par for the day.
Lindstrom's career day got jumpstarted with an eagle at No. 5, followed by birdies on holes No. 7, 8, 9 and 10. After he dropped a shot on the short par 4 No. 12 hole, the sophomore posted birdies on No. 13 and 14 to get to seven-under par.
The lengthy hitter was able to reach the closing par 5 No. 18 in two and caught the edge of the cup on his eagle try, but it would not go in to leave him with the lowest 18-hole total of his collegiate career. Three of Lindstrom's previous sub-70 rounds have come this season, including a pair of 68s earlier in the year.
Liberty's final two golfers on the course matched each other's scores, as Ian McConnell and Mathieu Fenasse both carded even par rounds of 72. Following the level par rounds, Fenasse is tied for 14th place with a one-under 143 (71-72) and McConnell is tied for 20th place with a one-over par 145 (73-72).
Fenasee continued his consistent level of play at the Davis Love, III, designed course, carding 16 pars after 17 pars during his opening round, yesterday. The freshman had his first over-par score on a hole of the championship on No. 9, just after he had posted birdie on the previous No. 8 hole.
McConnell got off to a rough start, as he missed the opening green at the par 4 No. 1 hole and burned his par try well past the hole. However, he was able to sink the eight-foot comeback putt to minimize the early damage.
The sophomore hit his first green in regulation on the par 3 No. 4 hole and nearly carded a hole in one, sending it six feet by which he was able to make and get back to level par.
He almost got to the green in two on the next hole, hitting the front size bunker, which he was able to get up and down from to get into red figures on the day.
After a pair of pars, McConnell gave strokes back on consecutive holes. The first was the par 5 No. 8, where his drive was nestled up next to a tree down the left side, forcing him to just punch the ball back into play.
Following a solid drive on the par 4 No. 9 hole, McConnell was short right of the green guarded by water, where his chip up did not leave him a makeable par putt to drop him back to one-over par at the turn.
After an up and down front nine, McConnell started to play more consistent golf on the inward nine, where he more than doubled his greens in regulation.
He snapped a string of four straight pars on the par 4 No. 14 holes, bending in a 10 foot putt from just below the hole to get him back to even par for the day.
After hitting pin high at the par 3 No. 17, McConnell's lag putt from across the green left him just three feet for par, but he was not able to convert, giving him his first three putt of the day.
McConnell was able to get the stroke quickly back on No. 18. A shorter drive forced the sophomore the lay up on his second shot, which set up a nice short iron to within six feet for birdie to give him a second straight birdie on the last hole on the course.
On the day, McConnell hit 11-of-14 fairways in regulation, 10-of-18 greens and finished with 27 total putts en route to his even par 72.
Just like they did today, Liberty will be playing alongside golfers from Coastal Carolina and Charleston Southern. The three team's pairings will head off the No. 1 hole at The Patriot Golf Club from the final groups starting at 8:50 a.m.
The Flames will be looking to fend off another charge from Coastal Carolina or Charleston Southern on Wednesday to capture the program's second Big South title in as many years and earn the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Regionals.
The eight-team, 40-man field could be in for a long day at the course, with a significant chance of rain and thundershowers in the Ninety Six, S.C., weather forecast.
Live scoring for the final day will once again be provided by Golfstat and LibertyFlames.com will be providing hole-by-hole updates on one of its starting five golfers via the Liberty Flames Twitter page (@LibertyFlames).