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UCF and Liberty Atop Rio Pinar Leaderboard

March 14, 2011  Orlando, Fla.  RSS
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Robert Karlsson leads the Flames with a five-under par 139 following two rounds of action at the Rio Pinar Invitational.

Robert Karlsson leads the Flames with a five-under par 139 following two rounds of action at the Rio Pinar Invitational.

No. 31 UCF and No. 33 Liberty stand atop the Rio Pinar Invitational leaderboard, as the first 36 holes of action were played Monday in near perfect conditions on the par-72, 7,001-yard Rio Pinar Country Club.

UCF, playing on its home course, carded back-to-back sub-par rounds, allowing the Knights to hold a 13-stroke lead over the Flames. UCF fired a 19-under par 557 (275-282), carding the Knights' two lowest 18-hole totals of the season.

The Flames stand in second place with a six-under 570, as Liberty followed UCF's lead by posting consecutive under-par rounds (283-287). Liberty opened the event with a five-under par 283, the team's third-best 18-hole total of the 2010-11 season.

The last team to find red numbers was No. 25 N.C. State, as the Wolfpack trail Liberty by five strokes after finishing with a one-under par 575 (291-284).

Rounding out the top five in the 18-team field is Florida Gulf Coast, who carded a one-over par 577 (287-290), followed by Wichita State (292-289) and Big South foe Winthrop (292-289) who share fifth place after both finishing with a five-over par 581.

Playing the black tees on the Rio Pinar links that has hosted both PGA and LPGA Tour events, 20 golfers in the 96-man field were able to best the course and finish in red figures.

Leading the charge is Florida Gulf Coast's Daniel Mazziotta, as the No. 153 ranked golfer in the country stands atop the leaderboard with a 10-under par 134 (65-69). The senior opened the event with a career-best 18-hole total by carding a seven-under par 65, while the day's outing gave him his 12th and 13th career sub-70 rounds.

Homestanding golfers from UCF hold the next three spots on the leaderboard. Greg Easton followed Mazziotta's lead by opening with a career-best round of five-under par 67, and the freshman trails the clubhouse leader by one stroke with nine-under par 135 (67-68).

Easton's teammates rank just behind him. Reid Martin, who is competing as an individual, is in third place with an eight-under par 136 (68-68), followed by No. 100 Connor Arendell, who is in fourth place with a six-under par 138 (70-68).

Liberty golfers hold the next two spots on the 96-man leaderboard, starting with Robert Karlsson, who is in fifth place with a five-under par 139 (69-70).

Liberty's junior leader, the top ranked individual golfer in the field at No. 28, is having a much better showing at this year's Rio Pinar Invitational. Karlsson finished the 2010 event tied for 50th place with an 11-over par 227 (75-75-77).

Sophomore Max McKay continued to find success on the Rio Pinar course, as the "Sunshine State" native is in sixth place with a four-under par 140 after consecutive rounds of 70. During last year's event, the Jacksonville, Fla., native finished the event tied for sixth place with a one-under par 215 (72-71-72).

Chase Marinell, the second of three Liberty golfers who returned to their home state for the event, shares seventh place with four other golfers. The Fort Myers, Fla., native fired a three-under par 141 (69-72), tying his low 18-hole total of the season during the morning flight.

Preston Dembowiak and Andrew Colvin round out Liberty's starting five for this tournament. Dembowiak, who entered the tournament with his first collegiate ranking at No. 178, is tied for 53rd with a seven-over par 151 (75-76).

Colvin, a native of Orlando, Fla. and former UCF golfer, returned to his former collegiate home course and is tied for 67th place with a nine-over par 153 (78-75).

Jacob Singleton, one of six golfers competing in the field as an individual, is in 96th place following a 29-over par 173 (91-82).

The top three teams in the field, No. 31 UCF, No. 33 Liberty and No. 25 N.C. State, will return to the Rio Pinar Country Club tomorrow to duke it out for this year's crown.

UCF will be looking to defend its 2010 title, as the Knights bested last year's field of 18 teams by 19 strokes, finishing the two-day event with a 14-under par 850 (279-290-281).