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Flames Take Seventh Place at UCF Event

March 16, 2010  Orlandoa, Fla.  RSS
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Max McKay finished in sixth place with a one-under par 215 at the Rio Pinar Invitational to lead the Flames.

Max McKay finished in sixth place with a one-under par 215 at the Rio Pinar Invitational to lead the Flames.

Despite closing with its best 18-hole total at the event, Liberty could not keep up with the improved-round trend, as the Flames dropped two spots to finish tied for seventh place during the final round of the 2010 Rio Pinar Invitational on Tuesday.

All but two of the 18 teams in the field carded better third-round scores than they did in the second, as the field averaged an 8.3-stroke improvement overnight. The two teams that leapfrogged over the Flames from the second and third rounds posted the most improved scores of the field.

No. 32 Middle Tennessee State shaved 20 strokes off its team score and took fifth place with a 19-over par 883 (289-307-287), while Southern Miss jumped up to sixth place after a 24-stroke improvement to card a 23-over par 887 (293-309-285).

UCF, playing on its home Rio Pinar Golf Club, claimed the team title at the event for the third-straight year. The Knights, currently ranked No. 63 in the latest Golfstat team ranks, finished with a 19-stroke cushion, as they carded a 14-under par 850 (279-290-281).

Rounding out the Top 5 programs in the field, are Charlotte, who finished in second place with a five-over par 869 (291-293-285), No. 27 North Florida, who finished third with a 14-over par 878 (293-297-288) and fourth-place North Texas, who carded a 15-over par 879 (291-293-295).

Liberty could not keep pace with the improved scores despite its ninth-best, 18-hole total of the year. The Flames fired a six-over par 294 during the final round and finished the event with a 24-over par 888 (295-299-294).

Charlotte's Olafur Loftsson was able to shake fellow first-day leader Brad Schneider of UCF to claim individual medalist honors at the event.

Loftsson tied for low round of the day and during the event with a final round, four-under par 68 to finish in first place with a seven-under par 209 (71-70-68).

Schneider finished in second place with a five-under par 211 (70-71-70), followed directly by teammate Nuno Henriques's four-under par 212 (68-74-70).

In total, seven golfers in the field of 96 finished the 54-hole event in red numbers, including Liberty's freshman Max McKay.

The rookie fired his second even par round of 72 during the event on Tuesday on the 7,001-trek to share sixth place with UCF's Reid Martin (70-76-69-215). McKay, who is individually ranked No. 70 in the latest Golfstat rankings, posted his second career sub-par tournament total, carding a one-under par 215 (72-71-72).

Preston Dembowiak fired his fourth-best closing round of the season to help him finish tied for 38th place with a nine-over par 225 (74-76-75).

After back-to-back rounds of 75, Robert Karlsson added two strokes to his score on Tuesday, firing a five-over par 77 to finish tied for 50th with an 11-over par 227 (75-75-77). It marked the sophomore's second-highest tournament finish of the season.

Stephen Dooley (74-82-72) carded his third par round of the year on Tuesday and finished tied for 56th place with fellow teammate Jordan Frye (76-77-75). Both golfers finished the event with a 12-over par 228.

Despite falling two team spots during the final day leaderboard, the Flames still managed to finish ahead of three Top 75 programs.

No. 59 Wichita State finished in 11th place with a 35-over par 899 (298-302-299), No. 75 Florida Atlantic finished in 15th place with a 44-over par 908 (303-307-298) and No. 57 Texas Arlington finished in 17th place with a 54-over par 918 (293-316-309).

The Flames will take the rest of the month of March off to polish their game, as Liberty will not return to the golf links until April 2 and 3, when Liberty travels to Wallace, N.C., to participate in the River Landing Intercollegiate.

The two-day, 54-hole event will be hosted by UNC Wilmington on the River Landing Golf Club, which features 36 holes of championship golf.