Liberty's 2012 River Landing Intercollegiate championship team (l to r): Head coach Jeff Thomas, Chase Marinell, Mathieu Fenasse, Ian McConnell, Robert Karlsson and Niklas Lindstrom.
A strong third round effort wrapped up a wire-to-wire victory for Liberty on Sunday at the River Landing Intercollegiate, an East Carolina hosted event at the River Landing Golf Course. The tournament victory was the Flames' first of the 2011-12 season and the team's first since winning the title at last year's Big South Men's Golf Championship on April 20. Liberty has now won 19 Division I tournaments in program history. The 12-team field returned to the par-72, 6,901-yard course, Saturday morning, to wrap up the second round after weather delays altered Friday's schedule to the first 27 holes of play. A trio of ACC programs closed the gap on No. 39/37 Liberty (Golfweek/Golfstat) after 36 holes. The Flames led the field with an eight-under 568, two strokes ahead of N.C. State's six-under par 570. Duke, the field's top ranked program at No. 18/15, was in third with a four-under par 572, followed by North Carolina's one-under par 575. However, the Flames put the tournament out of reach during the afternoon flight, carding a 10-under par 278, the team's second-best 18-hole total of the season. The double digit under-par total enabled Liberty to claim a nine stroke victory with an 18-under par 846 (283-285-278). N.C. State (286-284-285) and Duke (291-281-283) shared second place with a nine-under par 855. No. 37/30 East Carolina (304-274-281) recovered from a tough opening round to eventually share fourth place with North Carolina (289-286-284) with a five-under par 859. The Flames were able to secure their first team victory of the season by placing three of their five starters inside the Top 10. Niklas Lindstrom carded three straight sub-par rounds to record a career 54-hole showing. The sophomore finished in second place with a seven-under par 209 (71-70-68), besting his seven-over par 217 at the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate in March. Robert Karlsson, who entered the event individually ranked No. 40 in the latest Golfweek rankings, finished one stroke behind Lindstrom to take third place. The senior posted a six-under par 210 (68-73-69), his second-best 54-hole total of the season. Chase Marinell closed the two-day event with his first sub-70 round of the spring to share eighth place with three other golfers. The sophomore posted a three-under par 213 (72-72-69), closing with a 69 after a pair of level par 72 rounds. Mathieu Fenasse posted his best 54-hole total since joining the Flames, with the freshman finishing tied for 19th placed after an even par 216 (72-71-73). Ian McConnell rounded out Liberty's starting five by sharing 30th place with a three-over par 219 (75-72-72). Liberty also took two individuals to the River Land Intercollegiate, with Jacob Mast finishing in 64th place with a 14-over par 230 (80-75-75) and Jordan Frye finishing in 71st place with a 20-over par 236 (81-76-79).
The Flames will look to ride the momentum of their first victory of the season into their most important event on their schedule. On April 16-18, Liberty will return to The Patriot Golf Club in Ninety Six, S.C., where the Flames will look to defend their 2011 Big South Men's Golf Championship.