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Golf Team Rankings Continue to Climb

March 9, 2011  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Head coach Jeff Thomas (left) has help guide the Flames to new heights in 2010-11, including a No. 33 national ranking in the latest Golfstat team rankings.

Head coach Jeff Thomas (left) has help guide the Flames to new heights in 2010-11, including a No. 33 national ranking in the latest Golfstat team rankings.

Golfstat - Team Rankings

Golfstat - Individual Rankings

Golweek - Team Rankings

Golfweek - Individual Rankings

Following their sixth top three finish of the season, Liberty's golf program continues to climb in the national collegiate golf rankings.

The Flames are currently ranked No. 33 in the Golfstat team rankings, which were updated earlier this morning. The team ranking is the highest in program history. Liberty climbed seven spots from last week's Golfstat's team listing, following a third-place finish at the 14th annual Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate.

Liberty finished the 54-hole event 13 strokes behind No. 3 Alabama and just two shots behind No. 17 Virginia. The 18-team field included 10 programs that were ranked inside last week's Top 100 listing, including six Top 50 programs.

The Flames are having their best season in program history, as Liberty finished the fall with a program-best 290.75 fall stroke average.

The Flames have finished third or better in six out of seven team events during the 2010-11 season. This year's run included a tie for first place at the Rees Jones Intercollegiate and a third-place showing at the prestigious Golfweek Conference Challenge to open their campaign.

Individually, Liberty has two of the three Big South golfers listed in the latest Golfstat listing. Robert Karlsson, the reigning Big South Golfer of the Year, is ranked No. 28, while Preston Dembowiak is ranked No. 187.

Karlsson is in the midst of his best season since joining the program for the 2009 spring semester. The junior has finished inside the Top 10 in six out of seven events, including four Top five finishes. His 71.7 stroke average is the best in the Big South and has lowered his career stroke average to 72.4.

Karlsson has continually bested some of the elite collegiate golfers in the country. According to Golfstat, the junior has posted an 1157-46 head-to-head record this season and is 2-5 against Top 25 golfers, a perfect 6-0 against golfers ranked No. 26-50 and 6-4 against golfers listed No. 51-100.

During this week's Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate, Karlsson finished ahead of several nationally ranked golfers, including No. 25 Ben Kohles of Virginia.

To open the spring season, Karlsson finished two strokes behind Bank Vongvanij of Florida at the JU Invitational. The Gator golfer was ranked No. 1 in the country entering into the event that was played at the TCP-Sawgrass Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Dembowiak is also having the best season of his four-year career on Liberty Mountain. His 73.6 stroke average is nearly two shots less than any of his previous three years.

The senior has a pair of Top 10 finishes this season, including a runner-up showing at last week's Seahawk Invitational. Dembowiak posted a one-over par 217, which was the fourth-best 54-hole total of his collegiate career. He has bested one golfer ranked No. 26-50 this season and a pair listed between No. 51-100.

Dembowiak holds two of Liberty's top five 18-hole cardings of the season, with a six-under 66 during the third round of the Golfweek Conference Challenge and a five-under 67 during the second round at the Seahawk Classic.

In addition to Liberty's Golfstat rankings, the Flames find themselves with similar Golfweek listings. Liberty is ranked No. 39 in the latest Golfweek team rankings, while Karlsson is No. 58 and Dembowiak is listed at No. 218, individually.

The Flames will return to the golf links next week to participate in the Rio Pinar Invitational, hosted by UCF at the Rio Pinar Country Club in Orlando, Fla. Liberty will be the second-best ranked program in the 18-team field that will be led by No. 21 N.C. State.