NORMAN, Okla. – The first regular season Bushnell Golfweek Division II Coaches Poll has been released and Florida Southern remained #2 in the national rankings with West Florida replacing Saint Leo as the top-ranked team in the country.
West Florida received eight first-place votes in the poll, while Florida Southern received four. The Argonauts were 12 points ahead of the Moccasins (437-425), who were followed by three more Sunshine State Conference schools. Barry was third with 422 points, Lynn was fourth with 385, and Nova Southeastern was fifth with 320. Barry and Lynn each picked up one first-place vote.
The Moccasins have played in two tournaments so far this fall, participating in the Division I Rod Myers Invitational hosted by Duke University and the Saint Leo Invitational hosted by Saint Leo University. Their dominant performance at Saint Leo saw them finish 13 shots ahead of runner-up and 8th-ranked South Carolina-Aiken, and 36 ahead of previous #1 Saint Leo which dropped to #7 this week, though the Lions still received four first-place votes.
Playing in a 12-team field that featured six top-25 teams and two others who were receiving votes, the Moccasins finished at 12-under par and their average margin over their 11 opponents was nearly 40 shots. Their 26-stroke average margin over the other five nationally ranked teams was equally impressive.
Florida Southern has been led this year by its two returning All-Americans, juniors John VanDerLaan and John Coultas. VanDerLaan leads the team with a 71.17 stroke average, but Coultas is right behind him at 71.33. They're separated by only one stroke through their first six rounds of the season, with Coultas winning the Saint Leo Invitational at 8-under par 208, and VanDerLaan finishing third at 6-under par 210. Each golfer has also been named the Sunshine State Conference Player-of-the-Week once this fall.
Sophomore Christian Anderson also had a strong showing at Saint Leo where he was the first round leader and had a 1-under par 215, and freshman Chase Ibbotson has stepped into a starting role in the first two tournaments and responded with a 74.50 stroke average. Sophomore Michael VanDerLaan and senior Levin Hoffmann have split the first two tournaments as Florida Southern's fifth golfer.
Having already faced one top-ranked team this year at Saint Leo, Florida Southern will now have a chance to go head-to-head against the new #1 right away. The Moccasins will be playing this Monday and Tuesday in the Division II National Preview at nearby Reunion Resort, which will be the site of this year's National Championships, May 22-26. Among the other teams competing are West Florida, along with Barry, Lynn, and Nova Southeastern to put all of the top-five teams in the country at one site.
Also playing in the upcoming Division II National Preview are #7 Saint Leo, #9 Lee (TN), #10 Missouri-St. Louis, and #11 North Alabama. Along with #16 Florida Tech, #17 Central Missouri and #21 Carson-Newman, the 18-team field will feature 12 nationally ranked teams and four others receiving votes.
It also includes three of the four semifinalists from last year's National Finals (Saint Leo, Florida Southern and Lynn) and two others that reached the quarterfinals (West Florida and Barry). The Division II National Preview is being hosted by Saint Leo University with the Central Florida Sports Commission and Experience Kissimmee.
For the complete NCAA Division II preseason poll, click here.