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Karlsson Takes Second at Palmetto Invite

March 9, 2010  Aiken, S.C.  RSS
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Robert Karlsson was the lone golfer in the field of 90 teams to break par during the final round, helping him finish in second place.

Robert Karlsson was the lone golfer in the field of 90 teams to break par during the final round, helping him finish in second place.

Robert Karlsson nearly defended his first career individual title, but the sophomore could not quite catch Virginia freshman Ben Kohles during the final round of the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Invitational on Tuesday.

Karlsson finished the event in second place, thanks to his second sub-par round of the tournament. The Swedish golfer was the only golfer in the 90-man field to break par on the day, firing a one-under par 69 to finish the 54-event with a two-under par 208 total (69-70-69).

The Palmetto Golf Course, the oldest golf course in the state of South Carolina, presented a tougher challenge on Tuesday. The par-70, 6,564-yard trek saw an average score increase of 13.6 strokes per team for the top five finishing programs.

Liberty saw the greatest increase amongst the five teams, as the Flames' score jumped up 20 strokes from their previous round total. After carding back-to-back three-over par 283 rounds on Monday, Liberty fired a 23-over par 303 on Tuesday.

The Flames were in second place coming into the day, but fell to fourth place in the 18-team field with a 28-over par 868 (283-283-303).

Second-round leader Chattanooga also saw its scores rise, as there was a 16-stroke difference between the Mocs' second and third-round scores. However, Chattanooga was able to weather the higher scores and fend off charging Clemson and East Carolina.

For the second time in three years, Chattanooga claimed the team title, this year with a 15-over par 855 (285-277-293). Clemson, currently ranked No. 18 in the latest Golfweek team rankings, finished second with a 22-over par 862 (288-283-291).

East Carolina finished in third place with a 28-over par 868 (295-284-289), while Virginia, who is ranked three spots below Clemson at No. 21, finished just behind the Flames in fifth place with a 31-over par 871 (294-279-298).

Kohles, the top individual ranked golfer in the field at No. 28, fended off Karlsson's late charge to hold on for individual medalist honors. The freshman, who carded a tournament record seven-under par 63 yesterday afternoon, finished the day with a two-over par 72 and the event with an aggregate five-under par 205 (70-63-72).

Karlsson, who bettered his one-under par 209 from last year by one stroke, finished second, while East Carolina's Harold Varner took third place with a one-under par 209 (74-65-70).

Rounding out the top four golfers in the field was Liberty's Max McKay, who was in second place after 36 holes. The freshman tied his low round of the season yesterday afternoon with a five-under par 65, but could not find the same consistency today and carded a four-over par 74.

The rookie finished the event with an ever par 210 (71-65-74) to take home fourth place, and was one of only four golfers to shoot par or better during the two-day event. The 210 was his second-best 54-hole total of the season and his fourth-place finish marks the third time in four events the Jacksonville, Fla., native has finished inside the Top 10.

Rounding out Liberty's five golfers were Preston Dembowiak, Jordan Frye and Stephen Dooley.

Dembowiak finished tied for 42nd place with a 14-over par 224 (70-75-79), followed by Frye, who finished in a tie for 54th place with an 18-over par 228 (73-73-82). Dooley shared 75th place with three other golfers, firing a 24-over par 234 (75-78-81).

The Flames will have the next five days off before they head to the "Sunshine State" to participate in UCF's Rio Pinar Invitational. The two-day, 54-hole event will be contested at the Rio Pinar Country Club in Orlando, Fla.