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Coultas Has Company at the Top as John VanDerLaan Pulls Even for Front-Running Moccasins at Panther Invitational

John Coultas
John Coultas

VIERA, FL – Beginning play Monday in the second round of the Panther Invitational, the top three golfers were Florida Southern's John Coultas in first, Florida Tech's Max O'Hagan in second, and Florida Southern's John VanDerLaan tied for third. Those same three golfers are still in the top three spots heading into Tuesday's final round, and even with both Moccasin golfers shooting in the 60s, VanDerLaan was able to pull even with his teammate to help push 2nd-ranked Florida Southern's lead to 10 shots over No. 6 Barry in the team standings.

Through the first nine holes Monday, Florida Southern was carried by Coultas and VanDerLaan who were a combined three-under-par at the turn, while the Mocs' other three golfers were at +9. Over the second half of the round, their third and fourth counters in round two, Christian Anderson and Chase Ibbotson recovered to go two-under to not only prevent Barry from getting any closer but also to push the Buccaneers further behind. So a day that began with a four-shot lead for Florida Southern ended with the Mocs ahead by 10, with host Florida Tech 14 shots off the pace.

Playing in the same group again, Coultas and O'Hagan each made the turn at even-par for the round, though in a different fashion. Coultas parred all nine holes while O'Hagan birdied two and bogeyed two. That kept Coultas one shot in front, but coming up behind them was VanDerLaan, who was three shots back at the start of play but used birdies on 2, 4, and 7 to take the lead. When he also birdied 10 and 11, VanDerLaan was two shots in front, but Coultas would play his final eight holes at three-under, whereas VanDerLaan was -1, leaving them in a flat-footed tie at day's end. VanDerLaan's 67 was the best score of the day, and Coultas had a 69, putting them at -7 (137) for the tournament. The only other score in the 60s Monday came from Montevallo's Charles Wood, who also had a 69.

O'Hagan, meanwhile fell five shots behind them thanks to a double-bogey on 16 that gave him a 73. He was tied for third with Barry's Jorge Garcia, who had his second straight 71 for a 2-day total of -2 (142). Another Barry golfer, Niclas Weiland, was tied for fifth at -1 (143) with Ryan Rozic of Eastern Florida State.

In addition to having two players share the individual lead, Florida Southern also had Anderson in eighth place, as his 72 moved him up one spot in the standings with a total score of +1 (145). Anderson was at +3 over the first seven holes Monday, but over the final 11, had two birdies and an eagle. That came on the par-5, 540-yard No. 15, the same hole that Coultas eagled in Sunday's first round.

Ibbotson was Florida Southern's fourth counter with a 75, and he too was at +3 in the early going following a double-bogey on 8. He came back with three birdies on the back nine though and ended the day tied for 20th at +7 (151).

Jacob Penny shot an 80 Monday and was not counted in the team score. He's currently tied for 26th with an overall score of +10 (154).

Anderson wasn't the only Moccasin with an eagle on Monday either. Michael VanDerLaan, who is playing the Panther Invitational as an individual, did that on the first hole and added three birdies scattered throughout the round to shoot a 73. That has him tied for 51st place with a 159.

The final round of the Panther Invitational at Duran Golf Club gets underway Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m.