NINETY-SIX, SC – Coastal Carolina won its unprecedented seventh consecutive Big South Conference Men's Golf Championship and 12th League crown in 14 years by holding off Charleston Southern and Liberty on Wednesday at The Patriot Golf Club at Grand Harbor.
The Chanticleers won the event by just four strokes – its smallest margin of victory in the Conference Championship.
Charleston Southern edged Liberty for second-place with an 872, besting the Flames by one stroke. Liberty, which was sixth following Monday's first round, continued its rally from Tuesday and finished Wednesday's final round with the lowest team score of the Championship with a 7-under 281. That mark is tied for the fifth-lowest team round in Conference Championship history.
The teams encountered breezy and cooler than normal temperatures early on with partly sunny skies. Liberty sophomore Robert Karlsson, who entered the final round tied for second and four shots behind 36-hole leader Dan Obremski, was flawless on Wednesday and carded a 6-under 66 to take home medalist honors with a 7-under 209 (73-70-66). He was bogey-free in the final round, posting two birdies on the front nine and four on the back. He is Liberty's second Big South Medalist, joining Yong Joo in 2000.
Karlsson's 66 is officially tied for the second-lowest individual round in Conference Championship history. With his individual victory, Karlsson also receives an at-large invitation to the NCAA Regionals for winning medalist honors while not on the non-winning team.
Obremski struggled with a 4-over 76 on Wednesday and fell from first-place to third, but still finished under par for the tournament at 1-under 215 (67-72-76). Charleston Southern's Kelvin Day, one of three players tied for second when the day began, fired a 68 in the final round to claim runner-up honors with a 5-under 211 (69-74-68). Four players tied for fourth at 1-over 217: Liberty's Max McKay, Winthrop's Kamito Hirai, Coastal Carolina's Sebastian Soderberg and Charleston Southern's Ross Thomson. McKay and Soderberg each posted 2-under par 70 on Wednesday to move up the leaderboard.
High Point, which was in third-place after the first two rounds, posted a team aggregate score of 300 Wednesday to drop to fifth-place at 890. Winthrop rebounded from Tuesday's 308 with a 287 on Wednesday to finish fourth at 886. Gardner-Webb also improved on the final day, firing a team aggregate score of 290 to finish sixth at 897. Radford officially claimed seventh-place at 907. Presbyterian College also finished at 907 for the 54-hole event, but the Blue Hose are not eligible for the Conference championship and its team and individual results do not officially count in the standings due to its continuing transition to Division I.
Earning All-Conference honors based on their play in the Conference Championship were Hirai, Soderberg, Thomson, Coastal Carolina's Charlie Winegardner and Charleston Southern's Jacobo Pastor. The five join Karlsson, Day, Obremski, McKay and Gardner-Webb's Daniel Kim, who were voted to the team for their regular-season play and were announced on Sunday.
In addition, the Big South announced its Men's Golf annual award winners on Wednesday, which were voted on by the head coaches prior to the Championship. Karlsson was voted Golfer of the Year – becoming just the second Liberty player to be named Golfer of the Year, while McKay was voted Freshman of the Year.
Liberty head coach Jeff Thomas was voted Coach of the Year, and Gardner-Webb's Scott Wheeler was voted Scholar-Athlete of the Year by the Big South's Sports Information Directors.
The Chanticleers will now await their NCAA Regional assignment at one of six locations in the nation. The Regionals will be conducted May 20-22, 2010.