SAINT LEO – There was no drama for 2nd-ranked Florida Southern as a team on Tuesday at the Saint Leo Invitational where the Moccasins picked up their first win of the 2016-17 season by 13 shots over #8 South Carolina-Aiken. Junior John Coultas did add some excitement to the mix, however, by winning a playoff over Cabrick Waters of Limestone (SC) to claim tournament medalist honors and his fifth career individual win.
Already owning a 17-shot lead heading into the final round, Florida Southern shot a 294 on Tuesday to finish with its final margin of 13 shots. The 294 may not have been the Mocs' best round of the tournament but it was still the third best on Tuesday, with only USC-Aiken and Limestone (SC) shooting better at 286 and 292 respectively. The Moccasins finished 12-under for the tournament, with USC-Aiken at +1 and Limestone at +3. Florida Tech (+9), and Carson-Newman (+13) completed the top five in the 12-team field.
Individually, the Moccasins had all five of their golfers shoot 75 or better for the second straight round, and were led by Coultas' 72. As the only Moccasin with three rounds of par or better in the tournament he finished at eight-under par 208, and that left him tied with Waters. Waters was able to catch Coultas down the stretch with a furious comeback that saw him birdie five of his final eight holes, including No. 18, to shoot a 68 in the round. That forced a playoff for medalist which Coultas won on that same 18th hole, making him the first Moccasin to win the Saint Leo Invitational in their three appearances.
It wasn't the first time a Moccasin golfer won a tournament at Lake Jovita though. Matt Stauch won twice there in the Ron Smith/University of South Florida Invitational in 2009 and 2010.
Finishing two strokes behind Coultas and Waters was Florida Southern junior John VanDerLaan, who had a 74 on Tuesday to give him a 3-round total of six-under par 210. That was good for a third-place tie with Reid Rathburn from Armstrong State (GA).
Sophomore Christian Anderson, who was the tournament's first-round leader, had a 73 Tuesday and tied for 11th overall with a one-under par 215. It was the best 3-round score of his career, surpassing his previous low of 216 at last year's Southeastern Collegiate hosted by Valdosta State.
Freshman Chase Ibbotson and senior Levin Hoffmann each had 75's on Tuesday, with Ibbotson posting a total score of 219, and Hoffman finishing with a 227. They were tied for 22nd and 41st respectively and no team in the tournament got better scores from its fourth and fifth golfers.
Playing the tournament as individuals were sophomores Michael VanDerLaan and Palmer Lovell. VanDerLaan shot a 77 in the final round to tie for 50th with a 231 overall, and Lovell turned in an 81 to tie for 55th with a 233.
Florida Southern's next tournament will be October 3-4 at the National Preview Invitational in Reunion.