CONOVER, N.C. - Florida Southern had two of its golfers named to the 2015 Division II PING First-Team All-America Team that was announced by the GCAA (Golf Coaches Association of America) Wednesday evening following the conclusion of the stroke play portion of the 2015 NCAA Division Ii National Championships held here on the Jones Course at Rock Barn Golf & Spa.
The Moccasins selected to the nine-member PING Division II All-America Team were freshmen John Coultas (Valrico, Fla.) and John VanDerLaan (Southbury, Conn.). The team was dominated by golfers from the Sunshine State Conference, who qualified four of its five teams that qualified for nationals into the match/medal play portion of the championships that being Thursday morning, as five of the nine spots went to players from SSC schools.
It marks the first since 2013 that Florida Southern has had two First-Team All-Americans as Tim Crouch and Case Gard both earned first team honors in 2013. In addition, Coultas and VanDerLaan become the 20th and 21st different Mocs to earn first team All-America accolades in the history of the program that has won an NCAA Division II best 12 national championships and will meet No. 1 seed Lynn in the quarterfinal round of the match/medal play.
"That is huge and it's never happened as far as I know to have two freshmen as First Team All-Americans in one season," Moccasin head coach Doug Gordin said. "It is huge for our program and huge for those two guys."
Coultas earns his All-America honor after finishing tied for fourth in the stroke play portion at the Division II National Championships. At the national championships, Coultas, who was also named a Second-Team All-SSC selection, shot a 3-under 210 for 54 holes. On the season, Coultas after averaging a team-best 71.84 in 11 tournaments and 32 rounds of golf. He has had four Top 5 finishes, including taking home medalist honors at the AFLAC/Cougar Invitational during the fall campaign as he shot a 10-under par 203 at the Country Club of Columbus in Columbus, Ga. He has had 17 rounds of par or better on the season, including a team season low round of 66 in the first round of the AFLAC/Cougar Invitational. Coultas was the Mocs top finisher in four of 11 tournaments.
"All the hard work I put in, all the grinding on the course this year has paid off by me being named a First Team All-American," said Coultas. "It is a tremendous honor."
VanDerLaan, who was named a finalist for the Jack Nicklaus Division II Player of the Year Award on Monday, earns his All-America honor after posting a 72.34 scoring average in 32 rounds of golf and 11 tournaments. On the season, VanDerLaan, who was named a Second-Team All-SSC selection and the SSC Freshman of the Year, has had five Top 10 finishes, including taking home medalist honors at both the McDonough Cup hosted by Rollins during the fall campaign and at the SSC Championships at RedTail Golf Club in Sorrento, Fla. VanDerLaan, who was the Mocs top finisher in three tournaments, including two of FSC's three postseason events, has had 15 rounds of par or better and shot a season low round of 67 in the first round of the Matlock Collegiate Classic, the first round of the SSC Championships, the final round of the South/Southeast Super Regional and the final round of stroke play at the NCAA D-II National Championships.
"It's an awesome honor to be First-Team All-American. John and I are the only two freshmen to be named first team All-Americans this year," VanDerLaan said. "He (John) got me for Freshman of the Year, but there is a lot more golf to be played and a lot more competition for us to have against each other. It'll be fun."
In addition to Coultas and VanDerLaan, the first team PING Division II All-Americans are Cal State Chico's Lee Gearhart, Lynn's Mateo Gomez, Nova Southeastern's Santiago Gomez, Southern Nazarene's Michael Hearne, Central Missouri's Migdal and USC Aiken's Brandon Robinson-Thompson.
Along with announcing the First-Team All-American on Wednesday evening at the conclusion of the stroke play of the NCAA D-II National Championships, the GCAA also announced that Migdal was named the winner of the Arnold Palmer Award, which is given annually to individual national champion medalist and also named Coultas as the Division II winner of the Phil Mickelson Award, which is presented annually by the Phil and Amy Mickelson Foundation to the most outstanding freshman in Division II men's golf.
Click here for the complete release on the Division II PING All-American Teams