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Flames Finish Third in Season-Opening Event

September 9, 2012
|  Sugar Grove, Ill.
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Chase Marinell fnished tied for fourth place in Liberty's first event of the 2012-13 season.

Two-time defending Big South champion Liberty began its quest for a third-straight title this weekend when the Flames opened their 2012-13 season with a third-place finish at the Northern Intercollegiate.

The Rich Harvest Farms course played tough all weekend with none of the 66 golfers in the Northern Illinois hosted event finishing under par. Scoring average for the weekend was 78.36 on the par-71, 7,218-yard trek, voted No. 58 on Golf Digest's Top 100 American golf course list.

The Flames showed progress in each round, including a 16-shot improvement from their first to third round scores. Liberty finished the weekend event with a 53-over par 905 (308-305-292) and was just two shots behind second-place finisher St. Mary's (Calif.), who posted a 51-over par 903 (306-301-296).

Indiana was the only team to relatively solve the Rich Harvest Farms course, winning the tournament by 15 strokes with a 36-over par 888 (308-291-289).

The Flames finished three strokes ahead of Purdue (310-304-294-908) and nine strokes ahead of Virginia (319-300-295-914) and UCF (301-312-301-914).

Liberty's Chase Marinell entered the final round of competition in a three-way tie for first place, but slipped into a share of fourth place following a closing four-over par 75 on Sunday.

Marinell (74-71-75) shared fourth place with Indiana's Brant Peaper (75-74-71) with both golfers finishing the event with a seven-over par 220.

Virginia's Denny McCarthy was one of three golfers to finish in red figures on Sunday, closing with a three-under par 68, to claim individual medalist honors by three strokes.

He finished the 54-hole event with a three-over 216 (74-74-68), placing him ahead of Iowa State's Scott Fernandez (74-74-71) and Indiana's Michael McGee (74-71-74).

Senior Max McKay returned to Liberty's starting line-up for the first time since last March and posted his 12th career Top 10 finish. He carded a 10-over par 223 (76-77-70) to finish in 10th place.

Following a tough second round where he carded a 13-over par 84, Niklas Lindstrom rebounded on Sunday to record Liberty's first sub-par round of the season.

The junior offset a pair of bogeys and a double bogey with four birdies and an eagle on Sunday to close with a one-under par 70. Lindstrom finished the event tied for 27th place with a 19-over par 232 (78-84-70).

Mathieu Fenasse and Ian McConnell rounded out Liberty's final two golfers at the event. Fenasse finished tied for 32nd place with a 22-over par 235 (80-78-77) and McConnell finished tied for 40th with a 25-over par 238 (80-79-79).

The Flames will play the second of their four tournament fall schedule next week when they travel to Toledo, Ohio, for a return trip to the Inverness Intercollegiate Invitational on Sept. 17 and 18.

Last year's Toledo hosted event at the famed Inverness Club was shortened to just 18 holes due to inclement weather. Liberty finished the 18-hole event in second place with a seven-over par 291, which was four strokes behind first-place finish Kent State.