Hilton Head Island, SC (Aug. 20, 2013) - Senior medalist Niklas Lindstrom of Sweden and two teammates who tied for second place are among the individual golfers who make Liberty University the favorite to repeat as champion of the Rees Jones Collegiate Invitational, scheduled for Sept. 22-24 at Haig Point on Daufuskie Island.

Lindstrom, a 23-year-old who was a top-20 ranked amateur in Sweden before coming to school at Liberty in Lynchburg, Va., led the Flames to a 26-stroke win in the 12-team field played on the nationally-ranked Rees Jones Signature Course that was set up at 7,380 yards and a par 72. Lindstrom’s three-round total of 3-under-par 213 was six strokes better than the next lowest golfer.

“I wanted to break par today and finish with an under par total,” said Lindstrom after last year’s final round. “I’ve been working on my short game and my driving and that has been the key. I played well in my last tournament and I felt I had my game going.”

Among the four tied for second place were Lindstrom’s teammates Ian McConnell and Chase Marinell, who also return for their senior seasons. McConnell had the low round of the tournament with a 4-under 68 in the first round.

But Liberty is just one of the six teams in the field that advanced to post-season play a year ago, making the field for the 6th Annual tournament the best ever. The Flames failed to advance from the Southeast Regional after competing in the NCAA Championship in 2011 and 2012.

“Our field has been getting a bit stronger each year, and that has been the goal all along,” said Bill McDonald, head golf coach at the University of South Carolina, the host school for the event.

“We are also going a three-day format and that should really make things interesting. We were playing 36 holes on the first day and this golf course just proves too demanding for that. I am really looking forward to the event and hoping that this is our year.”

South Carolina finished third behind Liberty and East Carolina a year ago, where the top four individual scores counted toward the team score each day, but the Gamecocks have challenged for the title each year.

This year, McDonald has four starters back from a year ago, led by blossoming sophomore Matthew NeSmith.

“We had a good year in 2012-13, but we should be stronger,” continued McDonald.

Other schools in the field that made NCAA post-season play are two-time tournament champion Kennesaw State, South Carolina, South Florida, UNC-Charlotte and UNC-Wilmington. The remainder of the field includes Charleston Southern, East Carolina, Georgia State, Middle Tennessee State, Troy and Winthrop.

For more information click here to view the 2013 Rees Jones Collegiate Invitational Fact Sheet

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