NORMAN, OK – For the second year in a row, not one, but two Florida Southern Moccasins are among the 30 golfers named as semifinalists for the 2018 Division II Jack Nicklaus National Player-of-the-Year Award, which was announced Thursday, May 3 by the Golf Coaches Association of America. Making the list from Florida Southern were seniors John Coultas and John VanDerLaan, and nine of the 30 golfers were from the Sunshine State Conference.
Division II finalists for the award will be named May 17, and the Nicklaus Award recipient will be announced May 31. The honor will be presented by Jack Nicklaus at a ceremony during the final round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide at Muirfield Village Golf Club. In addition to receiving the Jack Nicklaus National Player-of-the-Year Award, the five recipients representing all divisions of college golf will compete in the Barbasol Shootout for an exemption into the PGA TOUR's Barbasol Championship, held July 16-22, at the Champions Course at Keene Trace in Lexington, Kentucky. The Barbasol Shootout will be held Saturday, June 2 at the storied Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio - the same club where Jack Nicklaus first learned the game of golf as a young boy.
Coultas has been a semifinalist or finalist each of the last three years, and as a sophomore was the first Florida Southern golfer to ever win the Jack Nicklaus Award. VanDerLaan is also among the semifinalists for the third time and was a finalist as a freshman and junior. They'll be competing against a list of players that includes 21 other golfers who are scheduled to play in next week's NCAA Division II South/Southeast Super Regionals. Among them is last year's Jack Nicklaus Award winner, Chandler Blanchet of West Florida.
Coultas has six top-10 finishes this year and 25 in his career while compiling a 71.31 career stroke average. A three-time All-American, he owns a 70.47 stroke average this season that is currently the third lowest in team history. In addition to his top-10 finishes, he's placed in the top-five 21 times and has six individual wins. Coultas is also 5-1 in the match play portion of the last three national finals.
VanDerLaan is in the midst of a season that has seen him win five tournaments, finish in the top-five seven times, and finish outside the top-10 only once. His 69.27 stroke average is currently the best in team history, roughly one stroke lower than his own record-setting average from last year. Since finishing tied for 18th at the season-opening Griffin Invitational in mid-September, VanDerLaan has finished behind only 13 other golfers in the last nine tournaments.
The complete list of the 2018 Division II Jack Nicklaus Award semifinalists includes:
*Chandler Blanchet, West Florida
Alberto Castagnara, Saint Leo
*Chris Crisologo, Simon Fraser
*John Coultas, Florida Southern
Tomas Gana, Lynn
Jorge Garcia, Barry
Emilio Gonzales, St. Mary's (TX)
*Juan Jose Guerra, Nova Southeastern
Johnson Holliday, USC Aiken
*Jacob Huizinga, West Florida
Zach James, Southeastern Oklahoma State
Brett Krekorian, Limestone
Carlos Leandro, Newberry
Vincent Norman, Georgia Southwestern
Max O'Hagen, Florida Tech
Axel Ostensson, USC Aiken
*Colin Prater, CU-Colorado Springs
Conor Richards, Lander
Alex Scott, Grand Valley State
*Spencer Skiff, Newberry
*Nick Stafford, Belmont Abbey
*Elis Svard, CSUMB
*Manuel Torres, Lynn
*John VanDerLaan, Florida Southern
Gideon Van Der Vyver, Columbus State
Yente Van Doren, Lindenwood
*Henry Westmoreland, West Florida
Will Woodard, Limestone
Han Xue, Florida Tech
Zach Zediker, Delta State
*also a semifinalist last year