VALDOSTA, GA – Led by a one-under par 71 from junior John Coultas, and an even-par 72 from freshman Chase Ibbotson, 3rd-ranked Florida Southern closed out the Southeastern Collegiate with a 295 that kept the Moccasins in fifth place in the 18-team field that featured eight out of the top-10 from the most recent Bushnell national poll.
Top-ranked West Florida, which went into Tuesday's final round with a three-shot lead over 2nd-ranked Lynn, pulled away from the competition throughout the day by shooting an even-par 288. The only team score better than that in this year's Southeastern Collegiate was turned in by the Argonauts on Sunday when they had a 284 in round one. The Argos used two 70s, a 72 and a 76 on Tuesday to achieve their final-round score and finish 14 shots ahead of 5th-ranked Barry for their fourth consecutive win.
Lynn ended up third after shooting a 300 on Tuesday, putting the Knights 15 shots behind West Florida. Ninth-ranked Florida Tech was fourth, finishing 19 shot behind West Florida, and Florida Southern was 20 off the pace.
Coultas and Ibbotson each had their best rounds of the tournament, and both golfers had four birdies in the final round. Coultas bogeyed three holes and Ibbotson had just two bogeys but he also had a double on the par-5 No. 11, accounting for the one-stroke difference between the two Moccasins. Those numbers made Ibbotson the Mocs' top performer over the front nine (even) and Coultas their top player over the back (-2).
The Moccasins also counted a 75 from junior John VanDerLaan and a 77 from sophomore Michael VanDerLaan. Sophomore Christian Anderson carded an 80 as the Mocs' fifth golfer. Both VanDerLaan brothers picked things up on the back nine where John was even-par with a pair of birdies and Michael was one-over with two birdies as well.
Even with his ninth under-par round of the season, Coultas was unable to catch John VanDerLaan for the team scoring lead in the tournament. On the strength of his opening-round 65, VanDerLaan finished four strokes ahead of Coultas, though both of them were in the top-five. It was the fourth time this season the two All-Americans had top-five finishes in the same tournament. VanDerLaan ended up third with a one-under par 215, and Coultas was in a four-way tie for fifth with a three-over par 219.
Ibbotson and the younger VanDerLaan had the same score of 231, which put them in a tie for 55th place, and Anderson was one stroke behind them with a 232, putting him in a tie for 62nd.
West Florida's Chandler Blanchet was the tournament medalist with a six-under par 210, turning in rounds of 62, 76 and 72 to win by four strokes over Richard Mansell of Nova Southeastern. Mansell had the best round of the day with a six-under par 66 that moved him up 10 spots on the leaderboard and one spot ahead of John VanDerLaan, who had been running second for the first two rounds. Those three were the only golfers to break par in the tournament, with Georgia Southwestern's Ethan Chamineak the next closest at two-over par 218.
Florida Southern's next tournament will be March 20-21 in Eatonton, Georgia at the Bobcat Invitational hosted by Georgia College.