Following another impressive showing at the Miami Intercollegiate earlier this week, the Florida Southern men's golf team has finished the fall portion of its schedule ranked second in the November 1 Golfstat rankings. Two Moccasins are also in the top-20 of the individual rankings, with senior John VanDerLaan at No. 2, and senior John Coultas at No. 18.
The only team ahead of Florida Southern is West Florida, while three more Sunshine State Conference teams follow the Moccasins to complete the top five. Nova Southeastern is third, Lynn is fourth and Florida Tech is fifth. Those are the same five teams that make up the top-five of the Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll, with West Florida No. 1 there too, and the other four in slightly different order.
The Golfstat rankings take into account a variety of performance factors throughout the season, among them scoring average, the adjusted average for each team's dropped score (the fifth golfer in each round), as well as strength of schedule and event wins. Florida Southern is at or very close to the top in all of those categories. Their adjusted scoring average of 71.63 makes the Moccasins and West Florida Argonauts the only teams in Division II with an under-par average this season. Newberry (SC) is third on that list at 72.10. The Mocs' adjusted drop score of 75.55 is also second in Division II, again trailing only West Florida's 75.30. Newberry was also third in that category at 76.08, and only five teams in the country had an adjusted drop score lower than 77.
Florida Southern's schedule has played a major role in the overall standings too. Only Nova Southeastern ranks higher, and the difference is slight (.039), a margin perhaps created by the Moccasins being unable to count themselves as competition as the other teams do on their head-to-head schedules. The schedule component is dominated by schools from the SSC, with six of the top eight teams coming from the Mocs' home conference (Nova Southeastern, Florida Southern, Lynn, Florida Tech, Saint Leo and Barry).
Against that backdrop, the Moccasins have finished no lower than fourth in any tournament, they won the Copperhead Championship in mid-October, and most recently finished second at the Miami Intercollegiate. Florida Southern is the only team to beat top-ranked West Florida this year and was one of only two teams to do so last year en route to winning the 2017 Division II National Championship, the sixth under current head coach Doug Gordin.
In the individual rankings, VanDerLaan is second only to Jacob Huizinga of West Florida, and sits just ahead of another Argonaut golfer, Henry Westmoreland. Those three have gone head-to-head in all four of their tournaments this fall, and along with Coultas, they've remarkably all placed in the top-20 in each of them. Huizinga won the first two, and VanDerLaan has won the last two. Westmoreland has been a runner-up in two of them.
Golfstat ranks the top 150 individuals nationwide, and all five of Florida Southern's regular lineup members are listed in the top-100. In addition to the two seniors, the Mocs have junior Michael VanDerLaan at No. 30, freshman Jacob Penny at No. 61, and junior Christian Anderson at No. 100. The only other team with five golfers among the top-100 is Limestone (SC), but the Saints have no one ranked higher than 27th.