BOWLING GREEN, FL – Top-ranked Florida Southern got a 67 from senior John Coultas in the completion of round two Tuesday, and a 72 from junior Michael VanDerLaan in round three to jump two spots in the final standings for a 4th-place finish at the Griffin Invitational hosted by Saint Leo at Streamsong Resort.
Official final results were delayed until Wednesday pending a review of the final round. Confusion over the exact tee box being used on one hole led to the review, and though some 2-stroke penalties were handed out to several players throughout the field, they did not affect Florida Southern's final position in the tournament, nor 2nd-ranked West Florida's position at the top.
With play on Monday suspended by darkness, Coultas was one of several golfers who still had to complete the second round Tuesday morning. He was four-under with one hole remaining, and with a birdie to wrap that up, was able to turn in a 67 following his opening-round 68. At that point his total score of seven-under par 135 was tied for fifth with the entire field chasing Florida Tech's Han Xue, who used scores of 68 and 63 to grab the lead from first-round leader Chandler Blanchet of West Florida.
As the third and final round began later Tuesday, the Moccasins were in sixth place after team scores of 290 (+2) and 282 (-6). No. 2-ranked West Florida held the lead at -31, with No. 4 Lynn at -22, and Limestone (SC) at -20. While none of those teams were able to keep up that kind of pace, they still ended up in the top three positions at the end of the tournament. The Argonauts of West Florida had a total score of -33, with Lynn finishing at -16, and Limestone at -14.
Led by Michael VanDerLaan's 72, the Moccasins fired a 292 in round three to move from sixth place to fourth at even-par 864 for the tournament. That gave them just enough to finish one shot ahead of 11th-ranked Nova Southeastern, two in front of Colorado-Colorado Springs, and three ahead of 5th-ranked Florida Tech. John VanDerLaan and Christian Anderson each shot a 73, senior John VanDerLaan shot a 73, Coultas had a 74, and sophomore Chase Ibbotson turned in a 77.
As Florida Southern was moving up in the team standings, Coultas was doing the same on the individual leaderboard for most of Tuesday afternoon. He overtook Xue and Lynn's Carlos Bustos fairly early in the third round, and West Florida's Henry Westmoreland a little while later, and was in second place with three holes remaining before a pair of bogeys sent him back into a tie for fourth at seven-under par 209.
West Florida's Jacob Huizinga won the Griffin Invitational with a 14-under par 202 (69-63-70), while Xue and Westmoreland worked themselves back into a tie for third place with scores of eight-under par 208, though Xue had a 77 on Tuesday. Coultas was tied with two golfers from Limestone, Peyton Shore and Brett Krekorian, for fourth at seven-under par 209. Buston and West Florida's Chandler Blanchet were one stroke behind that trio, tied for seventh at six-under par 210.
Michael VanDerLaan and John VanDerLaan tied for 18th with a 215 (-1), which was the best tournament score of Michael's career to date. He picked up two eagles in the tournament, one of them on the par-4, 345-yard No. 6 in round two, and the other on the par-5, 545-yard No. 14 in round three. The 15 teams and 90 competing golfers combined for 16 eagles in the tournament, and VanDerLaan was one of three golfers who had two.
Anderson was one of the big movers Tuesday, using a team-high five birdies to climb 19 spots into a tie for 41st with a 225 (+9). He had 10 birdies overall, tying him with the VanDerLaan brothers for second on the team to Coultas' 13. Ibbotson also improved his standing with his best round of the Griffin Invitational, finishing with a 237.
Jacob Penny, who had rounds of 72 and 71 as an individual, withdrew due to illness on Tuesday. It was still a strong start for the Mocs' only freshman this year, with Penny tied for 19th at the end of round two, and had a score that would have been no worse than second for 10 of the other 14 teams competing.
Florida Southern's next tournament will be October 9-10 in Palm Beach Gardens at the GolfRank Invitational hosted by Nova Southeastern.