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John VanDerLaan Propels Moccasins to Team Title at Panther Invitational With First-Place Finish of His Own

John VanDerLaan Propels Moccasins to Team Title at Panther Invitational With First-Place Finish of His Own

MELBOURNE, FL – One day after Christian Anderson's second-round 69 helped put 4th-ranked Florida Southern in the lead, junior John VanDerLaan went even lower to keep the Moccasins at the top of the standings and send them on to their second tournament title of the season. His four-under par 68 gave the Mocs a three-shot win over No. 2 Lynn and host No. 12 Florida Tech, while VanDerLaan himself won medalist honors for the third time in his career.

Florida Southern went into the final round at Duran Golf Club holding a five shot lead over Lynn, and a six-shot lead over Florida Tech. At one point Tuesday the Moccasins fell to third place behind those teams but they rallied over the second half of the round to finish with a 295 for the day. Florida Tech had a 292 and Lynn had a 293, but the Mocs' second-round score of 287 was the best in the three-round tournament and enough for them to hold on for the win. Their previous win this season came in September at the Saint Leo Invitational and the Mocs also had a runner-up finish at the NCAA Division II National Preview in October.

VanDerLaan was the only Moccasin to break par Tuesday and did so with four birdies and no bogeys. He played the back nine at three-under while freshman Chase Ibbotson was one-under on the back to finish the day at even-par 72. Florida Tech also got a 68 from its best golfer Tuesday, Max O'Hagan, but none of the other Panthers shot better than a 74. Lynn's leader on Tuesday was Mateo Gomez with a one-under par 71.

VanDerLaan and O'Hagan were two of only three golfers to shoot in the 60's Tuesday, and VanDerLaan's 68 pushed him ahead of first-round leader Shanren Brienen of Florida Tech and second-round leader Niclas Weiland of Barry. He finished the tournament at four-under par 212 to defeat Weiland by three strokes, Gomez by five and Brienen by six. Anderson, who was the Mocs' fourth counter in the final round with a 78, finished in a four-way tie for fifth with a score of 222.

The Moccasins' other two counters on Tuesday were Ibbotson with his 72 and junior John Coultas with a 77. Coultas had a similar finish to Ibbotson by playing his final six holes at one-under, another contributing factor in the Mocs' three-shot victory. Both Ibbotson and Coultas had scores of 225 for the tournament to tie for 17th place. Sophomore Michael VanDerLaan shot an 80 and tied for 53rd. Junior Grant Lovell, who was playing as an individual, carded an 81, and placed 79th.

Florida Southern will head to Valdosta for its next tournament, the Southeastern Collegiate, which will be played Sunday, March 12 through Tuesday, March 14.