SAINT LEO, FL – Chase Ibbotson turned in one of his best rounds of the season with a two-under-par 70, leading Florida Southern on day one of the Sunshine State Conference Men's Golf Championships. The 4th-ranked Moccasins put together a team score of 295 (+7), with 7th-ranked Nova Southeastern at the top of the standings with a 282 (-6).
Ibbotson was not only the Florida Southern scoring leader, he was among the tournament leaders as one of only seven that broke par in Sunday's round. His six birdies were tied for the most in the field of 55 golfers, and he birdied all four of the par-five holes, starting on No. 1. After a bogey on No. 3 put him at even-par, Ibbotson birdied 4 and 5 to drop two-under. A double-bogey on 8 put him back at even when he made the turn, but birdies on 10, 11, and 15, ensured he would finish the day under-par, and his 70 put him in fourth place individually. He was three strokes behind the leader, defending SSC champion Juan Jose Guerra of Nova Southeastern.
Florida Southern's second counter was freshman Max Coutsolioutsos, who was playing in the number one position and shot a 74. After parring his first three holes Sunday morning, Coutsolioutsos had bogeys on 4 and 5, but quickly rebounded with birdies on 6 and 7. He ended up +1 on the front nine and +1 on the back for his 74 that put him in a tie for 15th place.
Christian Anderson was one stroke behind Coutsolioutsos with a 75, and if not for a late bogey on 17, would have matched him. Anderson also had three birdies and ended the day tied for 22nd. Michael VanDerLaan completed the Florida Southern counters with a 76 that included one of the tournament's five first-round eagles. It came on the par-5 No. 6 covering 510 yards, and it allowed him to make the turn at even-par before he closed at +4 and tied for 29th. It was VanDerLaan's sixth eagle of the season, ranking him among the top-10 in Division II.
The Moccasins' non-counting score on Sunday was a 78 from freshman Johnny Tucker, who, like Coutsolioutsos, was making his postseason debut. Tucker is tied for 38th.
Nova Southeastern's team-leading score of 282 (-6) included scores of 67 from Guerra, 69 from Martin Larrea, and 71 from Finlay Mason. They combined for 12 birdies and one eagle with four bogeys between them. Guerra had one of those bogeys and it came early before he played the final 14 holes at five-under. The defending conference champion is two strokes up on Larrea and Barry's Daniel Faccini, with Ibbotson three strokes off the pace for Florida Southern. Faccini and Ibbotson share the tournament lead with six birdies. There's a three-way tie for fifth at one-under-par 71.
Though Nova Southeastern has three golfers under-par for the tournament so far, the Sharks' lead over second-place Barry is only two shots. The top-ranked Buccaneers had counting scores of 69, 71, 72, and 72 for a 284. After that, there is a 10-shot drop-off to third place where No. 2 Lynn and No. 14 Saint Leo are tied at 294 (+6). Florida Southern is just one shot behind the Lions and Knights at 295 and 13 behind front-running Nova Southeastern. The Moccasins are six shots ahead of the rest of the field, which includes No. 19 Rollins and Embry-Riddle tied for sixth place.
The second round of the SSC Championships begins Monday morning at Lake Jovita's North Course at 8:30, with the Moccasins starting at 9:20 on hole one.