Men's Golf Team Holds Position at #2 in New Bushnell Golfweek National Poll

Mike VanDerLaan
Mike VanDerLaan

NORMAN, Okla. – With a new Bushnell Golfweek Division II Coaches Poll announced on Friday, October 21, the Florida Southern Moccasins remained #2 in the country, with Lynn University assuming the top position in the second regular season poll of the season.

Lynn received 12 of the 18 first-place votes in the poll, while Florida Southern received two. That helped give Lynn a 36-point margin in the poll. Barry remained #3 in the poll, West Florida dropped from the top spot to #4 while still receiving three first-place votes, and Nova Southeastern held position at #5. Missouri-St. Louis, Saint Leo, North Alabama, Florida Tech and South Carolina-Aiken round out the top-10. The remaining first-place vote went to Saint Leo.

Florida Southern strengthened its grip on the #2 slot with another strong showing in its most recent tournament, the NCAA Division II National Preview, October 3-4 in Reunion. The Moccasins were originally scheduled to play in another tournament hosted by Nova Southeastern but that was moved to next week after Florida was hit by Hurricane Matthew. Now being played next week on Monday and Tuesday in Palm Beach Gardens, the GolfRank Invitational will be the Moccasins' final event of the fall and will give them another chance to go head-to-head with several other SSC schools who are still in the top-10 of the national poll.

The last time they did so, the Moccasins turned in a 3-round score of 15-under par at the Division II National Preview, which was topped by only Lynn's -19. The Mocs were also six shots ahead of previous #1-ranked West Florida and at least 10 shots ahead of every other team in the field, which featured nine of the top 11 teams in the country in the Golfweek rankings at the time.

Prior to that, Florida Southern won the Saint Leo Invitational hosted by defending national champion and then-#1 Saint Leo. That gives the Moccasins two wins over two different top-ranked teams this season and they'll have a chance to go 3-for-3 next week in Palm Beach Gardens against Lynn.

Florida Southern has already had two top-5 finishes from its returning All-Americans too, juniors John Coultas and John VanDerLaan. Coultas posted back-to-back individual wins at the Saint Leo Invitational and the Division II National Preview, winning both of those tournaments in a playoff. He's looking to become the first Moccasin with three straight wins since Jeff Klauk won four in a row during the spring of 2000. VanDerLaan was one of the golfers involved in the playoff at the Division II National Preview when he tied Coultas and defending national champion Hugo Bernard of Saint Leo with a 3-round score of 11-under par 205. He had previously tied for third at the Saint Leo Invitational at six-under par 210, and had a share of the lead going into the final round. Coultas and VanDerLaan head into next week's tournament separated by only one stroke through their first nine rounds of the season.

Sophomore Christian Anderson and freshman Chase Ibbotson have identical 74.11 stroke averages in the Mocs' third and fourth positions this year. Anderson's best tournament so far was at Saint Leo where he tied for 11th with a one-under par 215, and Ibbotson was tied for 22nd in that tournament with a 219. Anderson has had the higher finish of the two, but Ibbotson has more rounds of par or better (4-2).

Senior Levin Hoffmann, junior Grant Lovell, and sophomores Palmer Lovell and Michael VanDerLaan have all played in at least one tournament too this year, with Hoffmann recording the best finish of that group at Saint Leo.

For the complete NCAA Division II preseason poll, click here.