NORMAN, OK – Heading into their final tournament of the regular season, the Florida Southern Moccasins remained No. 2 in the March 30 Bushnell Golfweek Division II Coaches Poll. West Florida still holds the top position, marking the sixth straight poll in which the Argonauts have been No. 1, and the fourth where West Florida and Florida Southern have been 1-2.
West Florida picked up 17 of the 19 first-place votes, with Florida Southern and Newberry (SC) each receiving one of the other two. That gave the Argonauts, who finished second in both the Southeastern Collegiate and the Bobcat Invitational, 472 points and the Moccasins 448. Nova Southeastern is still third, but the Sharks lost ground to the top two teams in the poll. In the previous edition, the Sharks had been 40 points behind West Florida and 33 behind Florida Southern, but this week find themselves 72 behind the Argos and 48 behind the Mocs. The Mocs were fifth at the Southeastern Collegiate and fourth at the Bobcat Invitational, while the Sharks were 10th and fifth.
Tied for fourth in the this week's poll are previous No. 4 Barry and previous No. 8 Newberry. The Buccaneers are coming off fourth and third-place finishes at the Southeastern Collegiate and Bobcat Invitational, but the Wolves jumped four spots in the poll thanks to what may have been the most impressive showing in March for any of the top teams. They edged out West Florida and a loaded field by one shot to win the Southeastern Collegiate and followed that with a second-place finish in the Division II National Preview in Muscle Shoals at the site of this year's National Finals.
Dropping one spot each were Florida Tech and Lynn, down to No. 6 and No. 7. Limestone, which won the Division II National Preview, is up one spot to No. 8, South Carolina-Aiken climbed five spots to No. 9, and Columbus State fell three spots to No. 10.
Two other Sunshine State Conference schools are ranked as well, with Saint Leo at No. 12, and Rollins at No. 14.
Many of the top teams will be wrapping up the regular season this coming week at the Battle at the Shores hosted by Barry. Joining the 4th-ranked Buccaneers in Miami Beach will be No. 2 Florida Southern, No. 3 Nova Southeastern, No. 6 Florida Tech, No. 7 Lynn, and No. 12 Saint Leo. West Florida will be hosting its own Argonaut Invitational at the same time, and with an early conference tournament (April 8-10), Newberry has concluded its regular season. No. 8 Limestone will be playing at West Florida, No. 9 USC-Aiken will be headed to the Augusta Invitational, and Columbus State will be off prior to the Peach Belt Conference Tournament.
The Moccasins are led by their two senior All-Americans, John VanDerLaan and John Coultas, who are each ranked in the top-10 of the individual national rankings compiled by Golfstat. West Florida is the only other team with two players in the top-10. VanDerLaan is No. 1 while putting together a streak of six consecutive top-five finishes that has lowered his stroke average to 69.42, currently a school record. Coultas is ranked No. 9 and owns a 71.00 stroke average, the best of his career. That gives him the chance to graduate with four straight seasons under 72.
Freshman Jacob Penny remains third on the team with a 72.85 stroke average, is No. 59 in the Golfstat rankings, and No. 5 among freshmen. Right behind him is junior Michael VanDerLaan at 72.89, though VanDerLaan is higher in the Golftstat rankings at No. 35 following his 17th-place finish at the Bobcat Invitational.
Junior Christian Anderson is ranked among the nation's best Division II golfers too, currently at No. 85 on the list of 150 with his career-best average of 73.67 strokes per round. Sophomore Chase Ibbotson, a key member of last year's national championship team, has seen regular playing time too this season and been part of the regular lineup in all four spring tournaments to date.
For the complete NCAA Division II poll, click here.