VALDOSTA, GA – Michael VanDerLaan shot an opening round 73, and Florida Southern got a 74 from Max Coutsolioutsos to finish day one of the Southeastern Collegiate at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club with a team score of 301.
The 4th-ranked Moccasins are one of nine top-25 teams in the field of 18 and six others are among those receiving votes. That includes each of the top-five teams from the most recent Division II national poll. Leading the field is No. 3 West Florida with a 286 (-2), putting the Argonauts two shots ahead of No. 1 Barry and No. 12 Saint Leo. No. 22 Columbus State is in fourth place with a 290 (+2), and for the most part, the remaining teams fell in line behind the Cougars with scores dropping progressively by one shot down the standings.
Florida Southern is tied with No. 17 Limestone for 16th place where the largest cutoff is after round one. Montevallo in 18th place was nine shots behind Florida Southern and Limestone, three times the gap between any other teams in the standings.
VanDerLaan's one-over-par 73 has him tied for 23rd out of 93 golfers. The senior was at par or better on 15 of his 18 holes and had one of the tournament's three eagles in the first round. That came on the par-5 No. 11 covering 566 yards, and allowed him to play the back nine at one-under.
Coutsolioutsos, who was playing in the number one position for the Moccasins and is tied for 36th, got his 74 with a team-high five birdies, which was tied for second overall in the round, though he also bogeyed seven holes. His birdie on 18 got the Mocs within one shot of Newberry and Georgia Southwestern at the end of the day, and two within Georgia College.
Nova Southeastern's Juan Jose Guerra has the individual lead with a five-under-par 67 that included six birdies after a first-hole bogey. Valdosta State's Matt Anderson and Saint Leo's Alberto Castagnara are tied for second at four-under-par 68, and four golfers shot a 69.
Round two gets underway Monday morning at 8:21 a.m. with Florida Southern starting play at 9:15.