Athletics

Mocs Set to Compete in SSC Golf Championships at Lake Jovita

DADE CITY - The Florida Southern nationally-ranked men's and women's golf teams are set to compete in the 2014 Sunshine State Conference Championship beginning this Sunday here at Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club. The three-day, 54-hole tournament, which will run from April 13-15, is hosted this year by Eckerd College.

For the second consecutive season, the tournament will be broken into three 18-hole rounds. Prior to last season, the SSC Championship consisted of one 36-hole day, followed by an 18-hiole final round. The tee times for this year's tournament will be split off of hole No. 1 and hole No. 10 beginning at 8:15 a.m. each day. Live scoring for the championship will be available online at www.golfstat.com.

SSC Golf Championship Central

Once again this season, the SSC Championship is expected to be a competitive affair as a slew of league teams are ranked among the best in NCAA Division II. In the latest Golf World/WGCA Coaches' Poll, seven SSC schools were ranked in the Top 14, including claiming the top four spots in the tournament, while five men's teams are ranked in the Top 20 of the latest Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches' Poll. The league occupies the top spots in the men's rankings and has three teams ranked in the Top 10 in the country.

In the women's tournament, the 13th-ranked Moccasins are the defending champions as they needed a playoff to dethrone Nova Southeastern last season at Lake Jovita to capture its fourth league title and first since 2007. In addition, the Mocs have also claimed four Division II national titles since 2000 and have finished as national runner-up five additional times. Overall, the SSC has won all 14 NCAA National Championships since Division II began its own championship event in 2000. Last season, Lynn won the national title to snap Nova Southeastern's four-year stranglehold on the championship trophy.

FSC comes into the SSC Tournament looking to help out its case to earn an NCAA Division II regional tournament berth as the Mocs have posted a 52-47-1 record against Division II competition this season and have played in 10 tournaments and have had five Top 5 finishes, including tying for fifth at this week's U.S. Women's Invitational held at Pine Island Country Club in Charlotte, N.C. In the latest Golfstat rankings for the SSC, the Mocs are seventh out of nine teams with an average score of 313.35, which ranks them 15th overall. FSC is nearly three strokes behind Nova Southeastern, who is sixth in the composite SSC rankings with an average score of 310.75.

FSC, who is coached by Robbie Davis, is led by the play of junior Emily Rymer (Orlando, Fla.). On the season, Rymer leads the Mocs with a 75.0 scoring average in 10 tournaments and 23 rounds and she has had five Top 10 finishes, including four Top 5 finishes and a first place finish at the season-opening Lady Falcon Invitational hosted by Daytona State College. She has had six rounds of par or better this season, including a season-low round of 69 in the third round of the University of Cincinnati Spring Invitational. At that event, Rymer shot a 54 hole total of 218 to finish in third place overall. In the latest Golfstat individual rankings, Rymer is ranked sixth in Division II with an adjusted average score of 74.96.

In addition to Rymer, senior Jackie Rajek (Suwanee, Ga.) is second on the team with a 78.9 scoring average in 10 tournaments and 23 rounds. On the season, she has had one Top 10 finish, which came at the Lady Bearcat Invitational during the fall as she shot a 150 for 36 holes to finish tied for ninth overall. Rajek is ranked 117th in the latest Golfstat individual rankings.

The Mocs have posted an 10-31 record this season against SSC teams and is 82-57 overall on the season. FSC is 0-7 vs. Barry, 3-0 vs. Eckerd, 0-9 vs. Florida Tech, 0-6 vs. Lynn, 1-3 vs. Nova Southeastern, 0-4 vs. Rollins, 1-2 vs. Saint Leo and 5-0 vs. Tampa.

Lynn comes into the tournament as the team to beat as the Fighting Knights have been close to dominant this season as they have won eight of the 10 tournaments they have competed in, including a stretch of seven consecutive wins to open the season. In addition to top-ranked Lynn, other SSC teams ranked in the Top 4 of the latest Golf World poll are Barry at No. 2, Florida Tech at No. 3 and Rollins at No. 4. Nova Southeastern is seventh, while FSC is 13th and Saint Leo is 14th.  

Meanwhile, on the men's side, the 19th-ranked Moccasins and the rest of the league will look to dethrone Barry as the conference champ as the Buccaneers claimed its first-ever SSC title en route to winning the 2013 NCAA Division II National Championship. The Mocs enter the SSC Tournament having posted Top 10 finishes in four of the eight events they have played in, including a season-best third-place finish at the season-opening Doc Gimmler Tournament hosted by St. John's and held at the Bethpage Red Course. During the spring season, the Mocs have been up-and-down as they finished fourth at the Armstrong Pirate Invitational and then concluded its regular season spring schedule by tying for 14th place at the Bobcat Invitational hosted by Georgia College & State University.  

The Mocs, who have won an SSC-best 16 championships, with the most recent title coming in 2010 and a league-best 12 Division II National Championships, is led by the play of senior All-American Tim Crouch (Mt. Vernon, Ohio). Crouch, who is the defending NCAA Division II individual National Champion medalist from a year ago, leads FSC with a 72.0 scoring average in eight tournaments and 23 rounds and he has had two Top 5 finishes and three other Top 15 finishes on the season and a team-leading 12 rounds of par or better. His best finish was a second-place showing at the AFLAC/Cougar Invitational as he carded a five-under 208 to finish one shot behind Columbus State's Robert Mize, who carded a six-under 207. In the latest Golfstat SSC rankings, Crouch is the No. 2 ranked golfer in the league and 13th nationally in Division II with his 72.0 scoring average.

In addition to Crouch, sophomore Austin Schultz (Lakeland, Fla.) and senior Shane Convery (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) are tied for second on the team with a 74.5 scoring average in eight tournaments and 23 rounds. Schultz has had one Top 15 finish this season and has had five rounds of par or better this year, while Convery has had two Top 20 finishes and six rounds of par or better. Schultz's top finish was tying for 12th at the AFLAC/Cougar Invitational during the fall season and Convery's top finish was a tie for 14th place at the 33rd-Annual Matlock Invitational held at Lakeland's Lone Palm Golf Club. Schultz is 170th in the latest Golfstat Division II rankings, while Convery is 215th overall in D-II.

On the season, the Mocs, who are coached by Doug Gordin, have posted a 10-25-2 record against SSC teams and is 50-54-3 against Division II teams and 60-60-3 overall on the season. FSC is 0-5 vs. Barry, 3-0-1 vs. Eckerd, 1-4 vs. Florida Tech, 0-6 vs. Lynn, 0-5 vs. Nova Southeastern, 2-3-1 vs. Rollins, 3-2 vs. Saint Leo and 1-0 vs. Tampa.   

Top-ranked Barry and No. 2 ranked Lynn enter the SSC Championship as the teams to beat as Barry has posted five wins in nine tournaments this season, while Lynn has won two of the 10 tournaments they played in.

The other team nationally ranked on the men's side besides, FSC, Barry and Lynn are Nova Southeastern, who is ranked 8th, while Florida Tech is 17th and two schools, Saint Leo (36 votes) and Rollins (21 votes) received votes in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches' Poll.

Admission is free to the SSC Golf Championship. Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club is located at 12900 Lake Jovita Boulevard, Dade City, FL 33525.

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