Robert Karlsson, ranked No. 28 in the country, tied his career low 18 and 54 hole total, allowing the junior to finish tied for first place at the Rio Pinar Invitational.
No. 33 Liberty tied its second-lowest 18-hole total in program history thanks to a career round by Robert Karlsson on Tuesday. The record-setting performances allowed the Flames to secure second place at this year's Rio Pinar Invitational. Liberty bested the 18-team field by firing a 12-under par 276 during the final 18 holes of competition of the black tees of the par-72, 7,001-yard Rio Pinar Country Club. The 276 ties the second-lowest 18-hole total in program history, as the Flames also fired a 276 during the opening round of the ODU/OuterBanks Collegiate Golf Tournament earlier this fall. The Flames finished the final round more than 20 shots better than the average score of the remaining 17 teams in the field (296.47), including eight shots better than host UCF. The Knights, who entered the event ranked No. 31 in the country, captured the team title at their own tournament for a second year in a row with a 23-under par 841 (275-282-284). The Flames followed five shots behind with an 18-under par 846 (283-287-276). The 846 is the second-best 54-hole total in program history, bettering the previous No. 2 mark by three strokes at the 2009 Renaissance Invitational (849). Liberty finished 15 strokes ahead of N.C. State, who came into the two-day event as the highest ranked team in the 18-team field. The Wolfpack, ranked No. 25 in the latest Golfstat rankings, finished third with a three-under par 861 (291-284-286). No other team broke par during the 54-hole event, as Wichita State finished fourth with an eight-over par 872 (292-289-291) and Florida Gulf Coast took fifth place with a nine-over par 873 (287-290-296). On a day where only four players posted sub-70 rounds and 18 in the 96-man field managed to break par, Karlsson had his way with the Rio Pinar trek. The junior tied his career low and third-lowest 18-hole total in program history with a seven-under par 65. He also fired a 65 during the opening round of the Renaissance Invitational in 2009. Karlsson (69-70-65), the top ranked golfer in the field at No. 28, finished the 54-hole event tied with Florida Gulf Coast's Daniel Mazziotta (65-69-70) for first place. Both golfers carded a 12-under par 204, which tied Karlsson for the third-lowest 54-hole individual record in program history. Mazziotta claimed medalist honors on the first playoff hole, marking the fourth time in Karlsson's career Liberty has finished atop the leaderboard. Chase Marinell, one of three Liberty golfers returning to his home state for the event, finished in sixth place with a five-under par 211 (69-72-70). The Fort Myers, Fla., native bested his career low 54-hole total by four strokes set earlier this season at the Golfweek Conference Challenge (73-71-71-215). Max McKay finished one stroke behind Marinell to claim a share of seventh place with a four-under par 212 (70-70-72). The Jacksonville, Fla., native fired his fifth-best 54-hole total since joining the program and his second Top 10 finish at the Rio Pinar Invitational (tied for sixth last year with a one-under par 215 (72-71-72). Preston Dembowiak carded his fourth sub-70 round of the season on Tuesday, closing the event with a three-under par 69. The red-figure score allowed the senior to climb 25 spots in the final individual standings to a share of 28th place with a four-over par 220 (75-76-69). Andrew Colvin continued his three-shot improvement trend, finishing the event with an even par round of 72. The Orlando, Fla., native and former UCF golfer finished the event on his former collegiate home course tied for 49th place with a nine-over par 225 (78-75-72). Jacob Singleton, who was playing as one of six individuals in the field, finished 96th with a 37-over par 253 (91-82-80). The Flames will have the next week and half off to prepare for a trip to Laredo, Texas, to participate in the 2011 Border Olympics. The 54-hole event, hosted by No. 78 Houston, will be contested at the Laredo Country Club on March 25-26.