NORMAN, OK – Following their victory in the Matlock Collegiate Classic, the Florida Southern Moccasins remained No. 2 in the first Bushnell Golfweek Division II national poll of the spring, but the Mocs gained significant ground on the top-ranked West Florida Argonauts.
Coming into the spring, West Florida had been the unanimous No. 1 team in the country, but six of those votes have shifted to Florida Southern, and what had been a 28-point gap in the rankings is now seven. The Argonauts still received the other 13 first-place votes and out-scored the Moccasins 468-461. That was a significant gap over No. 3 Nova Southeastern, which flip-flopped positions with Lynn, which is now ranked No. 4. The Sharks have 422 points in the poll and the Knights have 391.
The next two teams in the poll are also from the Sunshine State Conference, with Florida Tech at No. 5, and Barry at No. 6. Florida Tech had previously been tied for fifth with Newberry (SC), which dropped two spots to No. 7, while Barry moved up six spots in the new rankings. That was the largest jump for any team in the poll.
Rounding out the top-10 are Cal State-Monterey Bay, Saint Leo and Limestone (SC). All of those teams were in the top-10 prior to Christmas. The only team to fall out of the top-10 was Columbus State (GA), which dropped just one spot to No. 11.
With Rollins at No. 13, the Sunshine State Conference had seven teams ranked, once again dominating the top half of the poll. The Tars moved up five spots from their previous position.
The Moccasins kicked off the spring semester by winning their own Matlock Collegiate Classic, posting a team score of 29-under-par that was their best ever under head coach Doug Gordin. It was also the second lowest score any team has posted in any of the five tournaments Florida Southern has played this season, all of which included at least three other top-five teams. It was also the second time this season the Moccasins won a tournament that featured all of the top-five teams (the Copperhead Championship in October, and the Matlock Collegiate Classic).
The Moccasins finished six shots ahead of Barry, nine ahead of West Florida, and 14 in front of Nova Southeastern. Senior John Coultas had the individual win at -15, putting him four strokes ahead of two Barry golfers and six strokes ahead of everyone else. That lowered his season stroke average to 70.40. Senior John VanDerLaan was tied for fourth at -9, giving him his third top-five finish of the season, and putting his stroke average at 69.53.
Junior Christian Anderson, freshman Jacob Penny, and sophomore Chase Ibbotson all contributed at least one under-par round to the team score at the Matlock, and Ibbotson closed out the tournament with a career-best 69.
Florida Southern returns to action March 4-6 at the Panther Invitational hosted by Florida Tech.
For the complete NCAA Division II poll, click here.