MIAMI BEACH, FL – John VanDerLaan turned in a pair of 66s Monday to open up a five-stroke lead for the individual title, and a late second-round eagle by Christian Anderson helped propel Florida Southern to a two-shot lead in the team standings on day one of The Battle at the Shores.
VanDerLaan continued his strong play this season by posting matching scores of five-under-par 66 that included six birdies in each round. His 12 total birdies were one more than Nova Southeastern's Juan Jose Guerra, who was one of three players tied for second, sitting five shots off the pace. Guerra had a 67 in round one and was only one stroke behind at that point, but could not match that in round two when his scoreline of 70 showed three bogeys to VanDerLaan's two-round total of two.
Barry's Jorge Garcia and Central Oklahoma's Alexander Hughes were the other golfers tied for second at five-under-par 137, with each of them posting a 68 in round one, and a 69 in round two, and each of them also picking up four birdies in both rounds for a total of eight on the day.
A big comeback by Anderson was an important part of the day too for Florida Southern. The junior was the only golfer in the field of 90 to have two eagles Monday, but his 76 in round one was the Moccasins' fifth score and not counted toward their team total. Early in round two, it looked as if his score would again be thrown out, but after playing the first eight holes at +6, Anderson was three-under the rest of the day. An eagle on his next-to-last hole, the par-five No. 3, allowed him to finish the round with a 74 and helped Florida Southern pick up two shots on 7th-ranked Lynn, which proved to be the difference in the standings when the last scorecard was in.
Sitting three shots back in third place is the host and 4th-ranked Barry, 3rd-ranked Nova Southeastern is six shots behind, and 6th-ranked Florida Tech trails by eight shots. All of the top-five teams are at -2 or better, and none of the other 13 teams are better than +12.
Florida Southern, Nova Southeastern, Lynn, Barry, and Johnson & Wales all broke par in Monday's first round, with the Moccasins leading the way at nine-under-par 275 for a one-shot lead over the Sharks halfway through the day. That -9 tied for the Mocs' second-best single-round score of the season. Lynn was five back, and Barry trailed by six. Lynn and Barry each had a 280 in the afternoon to move up, but a 288 pushed Nova down to fourth, and Johnson & Wales fell dramatically following a 299.
The Moccasins got their lead in round one with all four of their counters at -1 or better, led by John VanDerLaan's five-under-par 66 that was also the best score for any of the 90 golfers in round one. John Coultas had a 69, and both Michael VanDerLaan and Jacob Penny had a 70. The Mocs' non-counter was Anderson with a 76.
John VanDerLaan got off to a quick start with birdies on six of his first 13 holes before a bogey and four straight pars gave him his first 66. Nova Southeastern's Guerra had one more birdie than VanDerLaan, but also had a double-bogey near the end of round one that left him one shot off the pace halfway through the day.
Michael VanDerLaan and Coultas each had four birdies in the opening round, and Penny had three. All four played the back-nine at Normandy Shores Golf Club at three-under, but John VanDerLaan was the only Moccasin who was also under-par on the front nine. His brother battled back after a double-bogey on his first hole and a bogey five holes later left him at three-over in the early going. He then used three birdies on his final six holes to card his one-under 70 for the round.
Ironically, the Moccasins' only eagle came from Anderson, their non-counter, on the par-five No. 18. It was one of seven eagles in the round, three of which came on 18, with the other four coming on the par-five No. 3. Anderson's second eagle was far more important since it came as part of a counting score.
Coultas followed his morning 69 with a 71 in the afternoon that put him at -2 for the day and tied for eighth. Michael VanDerLaan also added two strokes to his score in the afternoon to close at even-par 142 and tied for 14th. Penny had a 76 in round two, giving him a 146 (+4) overall that tied him for 27th, and Anderson's 150 (+8) was tied for 50th.
The final round at Normandy Shores Golf Club begins Tuesday morning at 8 a.m.