No. 3 seed Liberty weathered charges from both Campbell and Charleston Southern on Tuesday, but was able to fend them off and capture the title at the 2016 Big South Men's Golf Championship.
The title is Liberty's fourth in six seasons, as the Flames also captured Big South Men's Golf Championships in 2011, 2012 and 2014. All four titles have come at The Patriot Golf Club (par 72, 7,120 yards), the site of the championship the last nine years.
No. 1 seed Charleston Southern and No. 2 seed Campbell got within a half-dozen strokes midway through Tuesday's final round. However, the Flames' seven-stroke lead coming into the final round was too much to overcome.
With the 12-stroke victory over Campbell, Liberty has earned the Big South's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals (May 16-18). The 81-team field will be announced on the Golf Channel's Morning Drive show on May 5 at 9:30 a.m.
Liberty posted a winning score of 11-under par 853 (286-281-286), carding rounds in red figures each day of the three-day event.
The Flames' 11-under par 853 is the team's second-best total at a Big South Men's Golf Championship event. En route to the 2012 Big South Men's Golf Championship, Liberty posted a 20-under par 844 winning score (280-277-289).
Campbell finished as the event's runner-up for the second year in a row with a 1-over par 865 (289-289-287). Charleston Southern, the No. 1 seed and defending champion, finished in third place with a 4-over par 868 (290-284-294).
During the post-match award ceremony, several of Liberty's student-athletes received regular season and postseason accolades.
Sophomore Hutson Chandler was named to the Big South All-Academic team, while fellow sophomores Isaiah Logue and Mickey DeMorat were named to the Big South Men's Golf All-Conference team.
Freshman Gabe Lench was named to the Big South Men's Golf All-Freshman team and Logue took home one of five spots on the Big South All-Championship team.
Big South Men's Golf Championship medalist Austin James of Charleston Southern was named the Golfer of the Year, while Buccaneers' Head Coach Mike Wilson was tabbed the Big South Men's Golf Coach of the Year.
James, the No. 17 ranked golfer in the country, posted a winning score of 11-under par 205 (68-68-69). His 205 was the second-best 54-hole total in championship history, falling one shot short of Coastal Carolina Dustin Johnson's 12-under par 204 in 2007.
Three shots separated Logue and James at the beginning of the day, with Logue looking to become the sixth golfer in program history to capture medalist honors at the conference event.
However, James proved why he was the Big South's top golfer this season with solid play throughout the day. He allowed Logue to get with two strokes of him after carding a bogey on the par-4, No. 2 hole (436 yards).
After James pushed the lead back to three with a birdie at the par-3, No. 4 (194 yards), the distance between the two stayed the same until midway through the closing nine holes.
James snaked in a long birdie putt at the par-5, No. 13 hole (580 yards). Two holes later, the pair both found the greenside bunker at the par-3, No. 15 hole (205 yards). James got up and down for par, while Logue posted his second bogey of the day.
After a bogey by Logue at the challenging par-4, No. 16 hole (470 yards), medalist honors were secured for James.
Logue (70-69-70) did close with a pair of birdies to allow him to tie for second place with Winthrop's Zach Seabolt (70-70-69) with a seven-under par 209.
Logue dropped in a long birdie putt at the par-3, No. 17 hole (211 yards) and was able to reach the green in two at the home hole (par 5, 554 yards) and two putt for birdie.
Logue's 7-under par 209 ties for the second-best score by a Liberty golfer at the Big South Men's Golf Championship event. Yong Joo (2000), Robert Karlsson (2010) and Preston Dembowiak (2011) also carded a 7-under par 209 at this tournament.
Logue's 209 was his second lowest 54-hole total of his two-year Liberty career. His lowest round since a 206 at last year's Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate was aided by the sophomore playing the par-5 holes a combined 7-under par this week.
DeMorat saved his best round of the championship for last, allowing him to take seventh place with an even par 216 (73-73-70). He had five birdies on the day, including three birdies during the closing nine holes.
Payton Taylor backed up his solid play on Tuesday with an even par 72 to finish his second Big South Men's Golf Championship tied for 12th place with a 3-over par 219 (79-68-72). The sophomore eagled the par-5, No. 8 hole (527 yards), but dropped four shots on the first three holes of the back nine.
Chandler finished the tournament tied for 14th place with a 4-over par 220 (75-71-74). The sophomore made the turn at 1-under par, but he bogeyed three of his last five holes.
Liberty's final competitor in the tournament was Lench who finished tied for 23rd place with a 7-over par 223 (68-76-79). The All-Freshman golfer helped Liberty gain a solid lead in the event after the first day with his 4-under par 68, but was unable to find the same stroke during the last two days of play.
All-Conference Team Austin James, Charleston Southern Craig Hornberger, Campbell R.J. Keur, Charleston Southern Isaiah Logue, Liberty Gaston Bertinotti, Campbell Mickey DeMorat, Liberty Vincent Blanchette, Gardner-Webb Jesper Svensson, Campbell Davis Parker, Presbyterian College Ray Kraivixien, Campbell
All-Freshman Team Jesper Svensson, Campbell Ray Kraivixien, Campbell Sawyer Mills, Winthrop Gabe Lench, Liberty Jordan Boulton, Longwood
All-Championship Team Austin James, Charleston Southern Zach Seabolt, Winthrop Isaiah Logue, Liberty Jesper Svensson, Campbell Jordan Boulton, Longwood
All-Academic Team Craig Hornberger, Jr., Campbell Jake Ezell, R-Soph., Charleston Southern Olle Widegren, Jr., Coastal Carolina Vincent Blanchette, Sr., Gardner-Webb Emile Menard, So., High Point Hutson Chandler, So., Liberty Alex O'Dell, Sr., Longwood Hayden Ploeger, Jr., Presbyterian College Myles Creighton, So., Radford Nick Eberhardt, Sr., Winthrop
Golfer of the Year Austin James, Jr., Charleston Southern
Freshman of the Year Jesper Svensson, Campbell
Coach of the Year Mike Wilson, Charleston Southern
Scholar-Athlete of the Year Hayden Ploeger, Jr., Presbyterian College