No. 1 seed Liberty battled bad weather on Wednesday and a tough test from No. 3 seed Coastal Carolina to claim its second Big South Men's Golf Championship in a row with a record-setting score at The Patriot Golf Club.
Liberty won the league title for the second straight year, carding a championship-record 20-under par 844 (280-275-289) to win the title by 10 strokes over second-place Coastal Carolina (285-273-296-854). The previous 54-hole team record was set by Coastal Carolina in 1999, when the Chanticleers posted a 13-under par 851 at the Greenwood Country Club.
Liberty's Robert Karlsson overcame a four-shot deficit during the final day to claim his second career Big South medalist honor. The senior trailed Gardner-Webb's Daniel Kim (70-63-75-208) by four strokes coming into the day, but he eventually overtook the runner-up to win by two strokes.
Karlsson closed the event with a three-under par 69 to win individual medalist honors with a 10-under par 206 (69-68-69). The score was the second lowest individual 54-hole total in Big South Conference history. Karlsson, who also won the title in 2010, is the third repeat medalist in league championship history.
Chase Marinell and Niklas Lindstrom also posted top-six finishes to capture Big South all-conference honors. Liberty had three all-conference honorees in total on the year, with Karlsson earning all-conference honors based upon his regular season accomplishments.
Marinell finished in fifth place with a four-under par 212 (67-71-74) and Lindstrom finished tied for sixth place one shot back with a three-under par 213 (71-69-73).
Ian McConnell carded his second consecutive even par round to finish the event tied for 12th place with an overall one-over par 217 (73-72-72). Mathieu Fenasse was not able to keep up his 36-hole pace that saw him post 33 pars during the first two days, falling to 29th place with an overall eight-over par 224 (71-72-81).
The 40-man, eight-team field battled adverse conditions throughout the day at the par-72, 7,120 yard course. Rain blanketed the area for most of the day, which resulted in a two-and-half hour delay during the morning. The golfers returned to the course at 12:49 p.m. and played through continued steady rains until the championship concluded around 4 p.m.
Karlsson's tournament-winning round started with three straight pars, the first two coming in the first bout of steady rain and the third coming just after the round was restarted.
The senior hit his approach at the par 4 No. 3 green short and left it in the bunker during the weather delay. With his first shot back on the course, Karlsson spun a wedge within two inches, carding a par which set the tone for the rest of the day.
Karlsson followed with birdies on the next two holes. He sank a 15-foot putt for birdie on the par 3 No. 4 hole and stuck a wedge within a foot on the par 5 No. 5 to quickly get into red figures on the day.
His score remained the same until the par 3 No. 7 hole, where he plugged his tee shot in the front bunker and could not get up and down for par. However, he quickly got it back with a birdie on the par 5 No. 8 hole to move back to two-under par.
His score remained the same until he birdied three holes over a four-hole stretch, carding under-par scores on the par 4 No. 10 and 12 holes and the par 5 No. 13 to get to five-under and take control of the race for the individual title.
He gave two strokes back on the par 3 No. 15 and par 4 No. 16 holes, but steadied himself with pars on the closing two holes to wrap up his fifth collegiate individual title.
Karlsson's work off the tee was consistent throughout the day, as he hit 13-of-14 fairways. He was able to find 11-of-18 greens in regulation and finished the day with 26 putts.
With the victory, Liberty earns the Big South's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals, giving the program its fourth NCAA Regional appearance in school history (2003, 2006 and 2011). Liberty will learn which of the six NCAA Regional locations it will be headed to on May 7.