PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL – Behind a pair of eagles in round two from John VanDerLaan, and a 70 in round one from John Coultas, No. 3 ranked Florida Southern put together a strong day of golf at Nova Southeastern's GolfRank Invitational, and stands second in the tournament with a two-under par 574 with one round remaining.
The Moccasins had an even-par 288 in round one Monday morning and followed that with a 286 in the afternoon, counting nothing worse than a 74 in either round. An incredible round by top-ranked West Florida in the morning that had all four Argonaut counters in the 60s, put the Moccasins 14 shots out of first halfway through the day, but the two teams played dead even in round two with a 286. While it wasn't enough to get the Mocs any closer to the top, it widened the gap over third-place and sixth-ranked Florida Tech to 10 shots, fourth-place and fifth-ranked Nova Southeastern to 11, and fifth-place and 10th-ranked Saint Leo to 12 shots going into Tuesday's final round.
The Argonauts had a team score of -14 in the opening round, which set a new tournament scoring record, while the Moccasins and Florida Tech Panthers checked in at even-par 288. Those three teams combined to count just two scores over par, with a 75 by Florida Tech's Max O'Hagan the worst among them.
The Moccasins were led by Coultas' two-under par 70, though he was four-under for most of the round before a pair of late bogeys. John VanDerLaan and Christian Anderson each had a 72, and freshman Jacob Penny was their fourth counter with a 74. All four of them had three birdies, and all four were two-under roughly halfway through their respective rounds, giving a steady push to West Florida. Michael VanDerLaan was also at -2 after 11 holes before dropping back to a 76 to give Florida Southern its non-counting fifth score.
A total of six golfers shot in the 60s in round one, and four of those scores belonged to West Florida, with Jacob Huizinga and Christian Bosso setting the pace with a pair of 68s.
The Mocs' second round leadership belonged to John VanDerLaan who posted his first eagle on the par-5 No. 3 hole, which covered 538 yards. After birdies on 5 and 8, he dropped in another eagle on the par-5 No. 10, this one covering 545 yards. He was five-under after 15 holes in the round before going three-over down the stretch to finish with a 70. That put him in a tie for fifth place with an overall score of 142 (-2), three strokes behind the co-leaders Huizinga and Henry Westmoreland from West Florida.
Penny was only one stroke behind VanDerLaan in the second round with a one-under par 71, while the Mocs also counted a 72 from Anderson and a 73 from Coultas. With Michael VanDerLaan shooting a 73, it put all five Moccasin golfers in the top-25. West Florida was the only other team that had its fifth golfer in the top-50.
In addition to John VanDerLaan in a tie for fifth, the Moccasins had Coultas tied for seventh at one-under par 143, Anderson in 11th with an even-par 144, Penny tied for 12th with a 145, and Michael VanDerLaan tied for 25th with a 149.
The final round of the GolfRank Invitational gets underway at PGA National on Tuesday morning at 8:30.