Golf wins Big South

History — Liberty is the first team to finish 20 under par, as they won their second straight Big South Championship. Photo Credit: Les Schofer, Promotional Publications

Through bad weather and major adversity, the Liberty University golf team finished first for the second year in a row in this week’s Big South Championship Tournament at The Patriot Golf Club at Grand Harbor in Ninety Six, S.C. The number one seeded team set a few records, had golf fans on their feet throughout the entire tournament, which ended with an exciting win from behind.

Liberty was able to bring home the second straight league title and finished a record 20 under par. The competition between first and second was separated by a mere 10 strokes. Liberty’s Robert Karlsson claimed his second career Big South medalist honor. During his last day of the tournament, the senior was behind Gardner-Webb’s Daniel Kim by four strokes to start the day but ended up overtaking the runner-up for the win by two strokes. Karlsson had the second lowest individual score in Big South Conference history and is the third repeat medalist in the league championship history, after winning it in 2010. He is now in the multiple Conference champions club with Winthrop’s Kevin Pendley (1997 and 1998) and Coastal Carolina’s Zack Byrd (2005 and 2009).

Also finishing inside the top-six, Chase Marinell and Niklas Lindstrom captured Big South all-conference honors. Karlsson earned all-conference honors for his regular season accomplishments. Marinell finished in fifth place and four under par, and Lindstrom tied for sixth place at three under par.

Ian McConnell got his second consecutive even par round to finish the event and tied for 12th place, finishing one over par.

The Flames competed against eight teams, 40 men and Mother Nature throughout the last day of the tournament. Rain delayed the event for two-and-half hours during the morning. The scores suffered because of the wet weather. Only three golfers broke par.

Liberty finished first with a 36-hole lead over Costal Carolina who was runner up, with Charleston Southern in third. This was the first time in the history of the tournament that the top three teams finished under par. Campbell, who just returned to the Big South after 17 years in the Atlantic Sun, finished fourth at 866. The host, Winthrop, was fifth at 879.

Gardner-Webb finished in sixth-place with an 885, ahead of Radford’s 892. High Point ended up in eighthplace with its 896. Presbyterian College finished at 900 for the 54-hole event, but is not eligible for the Conference championship until next season, and its team and individual results did not officially count in the standings this years because of the transition process to Division I.

Cambell’s Vaita Gullaume was voted Golfer of the Year and is the fifth Cambell player to earn this honor. Ben Wheeler was voted Freshman of the Year, making him the school’s first honoree since 2008 and the fourth overall. Charleston Southern head coach Mike Wilson was voted Coach of the Year and Cambell’s Mitch Grey was voted Scholar-Athlete of the year by the Big South Sports Information Directors.

The Flames are now awaiting their NCAA Regional assignment at one of the six locations in the nation. The Regionals will be held May 17-19.

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