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Flames Close out March at Linger Longer Invitational

March 21, 2014  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Ian McConnell and the Flames head to Georgia this weekend to participate in the 2014 Linger Longer Invitational.

Ian McConnell and the Flames head to Georgia this weekend to participate in the 2014 Linger Longer Invitational.

The Liberty Flames will make a return trip to Greensboro, Ga., this weekend to wrap up their March schedule at the Linger Longer Invitational on Saturday and Sunday.

The two-day, 54-hole event, which is co-hosted by Kennesaw State and Mercer, will be contested at the Great Waters Golf Course at Reynolds Planation, a par-72, 7,073-yard course.

Liberty, currently ranked No. 41 by Golfstat and No. 39 by Golfweek, is one of 15 teams in this year's Linger Longer Invitational field.

This marks the third-straight year the Flames have participated in the Linger Longer Invitational. Liberty finished in seventh place in 2012 with a 25-over par 889 (292-306-291) and posted an 11th-place finish in 2013 with a 21-over par 597 (300-297) at the rain-shortened event.

The two previous times Liberty participated in this event, the tournament was won by Alabama. Last year, the Crimson Tide convincingly won the event by 16 strokes with a 16-under par 560 (281-279), jumpstarting their run to the NCAA Men's Golf National Championship title.

Alabama will be looking to make it three Linger Longer Invitational tournament victories in a row and is one of several top-ranked teams in this year's field.

Alabama, who has won five of the seven events it has participated in this season, holds down the No. 1 ranking in both the Golfstat and Golfweek national rankings.

The remaining Top 50 ranked teams in the tournament field are No. 5/5 Georgia, No. 15/13 Oklahoma, No. 26/22 Clemson, No. 33/36 Mercer, No. 37/37 Kennesaw State, No. 41/39 Liberty and No. 47/52 North Florida.

After opening the spring season with a victory at the Sea Best Invitational, the Flames have struggled in their last three events. Since their spring-opening season victory, Liberty's best finish was a seventh-place showing at the SunTrust Gator Invitational on Feb. 15-16.

Liberty's most consistent golfer of the spring has been Niklas Lindstrom, who has finished inside the top 15 in three of four events since January and leads the team with a 72.42 spring stroke average.

Lindstrom is coming off a third-place finish at the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Invitational, where he bookended sub-70 rounds to post a two-over par 212 (68-77-67).

Lindstrom is currently tied for the overall season stroke lead with Chase Marinell, as both golfers lead the team with a 73.13 season stroke average.

After finishing top 10 in three out of four events during the fall, Marinell's best finish of the spring thus far was a tie for 25th place at the SunTrust Gator Invitational.

The third golfer in Liberty's lineup for this weekend will be Mathieu Fenasse. The junior, who ranks third on the team with a 73.19 season stroke average, is coming off his third top 10 finish of the season. Two weeks ago, he finished tied for fifth place at the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Invitational with a four-over par 214 (72-71-71).

Head coach Jeff Thomas will round out his Linger Longer Invitational lineup with senior Ian McConnell (74.88 stroke average) and Harrison Winger (75.56 stroke average).

Liberty's lineup is experienced, with four of its five starters having circled the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course before.

Fenasse and Lindstrom played in both events in 2012 and 2013, with Fenasse having the Flames' best showing with a share of 10th place last year with a one-under par 143 (73-70). Lindstrom's best finish came in 2012, when he finished tied for 30th place with a five-over par 221 (70-77-74).

Marinell finished tied for 23rd place in 2013 with a two-over par 146 (74-72) and McConnell shared 31st place with a six-over par 222 (74-73-75) during the 2012 invitational.

The 15-team field will begin play on Saturday morning with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m., which will begin 36 continuous holes of play.

The final round will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday off the No. 1 and No. 10 tees. Golfstat will provide live scoring throughout the entire 54-hole event.

2014 Linger Longer Invitational Field
(Latest Golfstat/Golfweek Team Rankings)
Alabama (No. 1/1)
Charlotte (No. 73/71)
Chattanooga (No. 61/64)
Clemson (No. 26/22)
Furman (No. 129/131)
Georgia (No. 5/5)
Kennesaw State (No. 37/37)
Liberty (No. 41/39)
Mercer (No. 33/36)
Michigan State (No. 134/117)
North Florida (No. 47/52)
Oklahoma (No. 15/13)
South Alabama (No. 63/58)
Southern Mississippi (No. 127/115)
Yale (No. 68/93)

Course Information:
Great Waters Golf Course at Reynolds Plantation (Greensboro, Ga.)
Par 72, 7,073 yards