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Flames Kickoff Spring at SeaBest Seafood Invitational

January 27, 2012  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Ian McConnell finished the fall season ranked third on the team with a 73.9 stroke average.

Ian McConnell finished the fall season ranked third on the team with a 73.9 stroke average.

2012 SeaBest Seafood Invitational Live Stats

Fresh off a second consecutive fall season that landed Liberty among the nation's best programs, No. 30/36 Liberty is set to begin the second half of its 2011-12 schedule next Monday in Ponte Verda Beach, Fla.

The Flames will be one of 13 teams in the field competing for the team title at the 2012 SeaBest Seafood Invitational, hosted by Jacksonville at the world-renowned TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course.

The two-day event will consist of 36 holes of competition on Monday, followed by a closing 18 holes of championship golf played on Tuesday. Live stats through will be provided for all three rounds of the event.

The Flames are no strangers to this event, having opened the spring portion of their schedule at the same tournament the last two seasons.

In 2010, Liberty finished fifth out of 15 teams with a 56-over par 920 (315-301-304) during their inaugural showing at the event that annually hosts the PGA Tour's THE PLAYERS Championship each May.

The Flames previous experience at the course showed during their return trip in 2011, where Liberty finished tied for third out of 15 teams. Liberty shaved more than 11 strokes per round off its team score last season, finishing the 54-hole event at 22-over par 886 (300-290-296).

The two teams that finished directly ahead of the Flames at last year's event return to the Stadium Course for another go around at this year's tournament.

No. 34/37 Florida returns to defend its 2011 title, but will have to chase down last year's runner-up North Florida, based upon the final fall rankings.

The Ospreys will enter their spring opening event ranked No. 7 in the final Golfweek team rankings and No. 5 in the last Golfstat listing.

Rounding out the Top 50 teams in the 15-team field will be No. 41/44 East Carolina, who finished last year's event in seventh place with a 38-over par 902 (305-298-299).

Florida was the lone team in the field to find red numbers, capturing the 2011 title with a six-under par 858 (286-283-289). North Florida was a distant second with a 19-over par 883 (300-286-297).

The Flames will enter this weekend's event with three players on their roster with previous experience at the event, led by two-time Big South Golfer of the Year Robert Karlsson.

Karlsson, currently ranked No. 28 in the country individually by Golfweek, has finished at par or better each of his last three trips around the par-72, 6,900-yard trek.

Last year, Karlsson finished second in the event with a three-under par 213 (72-72-69), which was two strokes behind Florida's Bank Vongvanij, who captured medalist honors with a five-under par 211 (69-69-73). Two years ago, Karlsson finished tied for 15th place with a 15-over par 228 (75-76-77), giving the senior a 73.5 career stroke average at the course.

Junior Max McKay also has had success in his own backyard, as the Jacksonville, Fla., native finished tied for eighth in 2010 (eight-over par 224/77-76-71) and tied for 28th place in 2011 (11-over par 227/75-76-76).
Liberty's final player with first-hand knowledge of the course is junior Andrew Colvin, who finished last year's event tied for 38th place with a 14-over par 230 (76-78-76).

Karlsson had the best fall of the three, leading the team with a 71.8 stroke average. He posted three out of four team events Top 10 finishes, led by a second-place finish at the fall closing ODU-Outerbanks Collegiate Golf Tournament where he carded a 13-under par 203 (67-68-68).

Two sophomores followed behind Karlsson during the fall for the Flames and rounded out the three golfers to play in all 10 rounds on Liberty's team schedule.

Chase Marinell, the reigning Big South Freshman of the Year, was second on Liberty's roster during the fall with a 73.7 stroke average and two Top 10 finishes. Like Karlsson, Marinell rounded out the fall in red figures, finishing in sixth place with a four-under par 212 (72-67-73) at the ODU-Outerbanks Collegiate Golf Tournament.

Fellow sophomore Ian McConnell was one stroke behind Marinell at the ODU-Outerbanks Collegiate Golf Tournament, finishing the event with a three-under par 213 (71-68-74) to finished in seven place. McConnell's second career tournament below par allowed him to finish the fall season with a 73.9 stroke average.

2012 SeaBest Seafood Invitational Field
(Golfweek/Golfstat Team Rankings)
Charleston Southern (No. 126/120)
Coastal Carolina (No. 11/108)
East Carolina (No. 44/41)
East Tennessee State (No. 123/123)
Florida (No. 37/34)
Florida Gulf Coast (No. 84/82)
Georgia State (No. 116/111)
Jacksonville (No. 176/170)
Jacksonville State (No. 83/75)
Liberty (No. 30/36)
Mercer (No. 114/106)
North Florida (No. 5/7)
Old Dominion (No. 142/122)

Top 125 Individual Golfers in the Field
(Golfweek Individual Rankings)
No. 7 – Sean Dale (North Florida)
No. 13 – T.J. Vogel (Florida)
No. 28 – Robert Karlsson (Liberty)
No. 37 – Kevin Phelan (North Florida)
No. 42 – Kevin Aylwin (North Florida)
No. 74 – Harold Varner (East Carolina)

Course Information:
TPC Sawgrass (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.)
Stadium Course – Par 72, 6,900 yards