INNISBROOK, FL – Michael VanDerLaan's one-under-par 70 was the Moccasins' best score of round one Monday, and Johnny Tucker's 71 was their best in round two, and together they were the Mocs' top golfers for the day as 2nd-ranked Florida Southern was tied for 12th at the Copperhead Championship at Innisbrook Resort.
The day's first round saw top-ranked Barry take command with three counters in the 60s and a fourth at even-par 71. That put the Buccaneers at 10-under par 274 as a team and 11 shots ahead of second-place Queens of Charlotte. No other team had more than one player under par, with Queens' four counters at 73 or better for a one-over-par 285. Limestone (SC), which is ranked No. 21, was third at 288 (+4) and No. 7 West Florida was fourth with a 289 (+5) at that point in the day.
The standings were even tighter after that. Florida Southern was one of 11 teams that finished the first round within nine shots of each other, a group that started with No. 6 Florida Tech, Georgia Southwestern and No. 4 Saint Leo all tied for fifth. Only five of those 11 teams had a golfer break par, and for Florida Southern it was VanDerLaan with a 70 that had him tied for 11th in the early going. The senior made the turn at -1 and remained there until back-to-back bogeys on 14 and 15. He was back at -1, however, by the end of the round with birdies on 16 and 18.
Tucker, who was playing in his first tournament of the season, was three-over after eight holes but settled down after that. During his final 10 holes of the first round, he had one birdie and nine pars for a two-over par 73. Another freshman, Max Coutsolioutsos, had a similar finish to his round by playing the final 10 holes even to finish with a 74. Junior Chase Ibbotson was the Mocs' fourth counter in the first round with a 78, and Christian Anderson had an 80.
In the second round, Florida Southern got a 71 from Tucker and a 72 from Ibbotson, while VanDerLaan and Anderson were the Moccasins' other two counters with each shooting a 75. Tucker and Ibbotson were each one-over halfway through the round, and Ibbotson remained that way throughout the remainder of the day.
Tucker, who had been one-under until a double-bogey on his ninth hole (the par-5 No. 11), picked up a stroke by parring seven in a row after that, dropping in a birdie on No. 1, and finishing with a par on No. 2. That sent him to the top of Florida Southern's scores overall with a two-round total of 144 (+2). He was tied for 20th and just one stroke ahead of VanDerLann, who was tied for 28th with a 145 (+3).
Ibbotson was tied for 53rd with a 150 (+8), Coutsolioutsos was tied for 61st with a 152 (+10), and Anderson was tied for 78th with a 155 (+13).
Barry was able to add only one shot to its lead in the afternoon, turning in a 280 (-4), while Queens bettered its score from earlier in the day by four strokes with a 281 (-3). That still put the Royals 12 back of the Buccaneers, and they were the only teams to break par for the day. Georgia Southwestern and West Florida moved up into a tie for third and were 18 shots behind the Buccaneers, and Limestone fell to fifth, 21 shots off the pace.
Connor Richards of Barry has the individual lead with a 134 (-8) after rounds of 66 and 68. He's just one stroke ahead of teammate Tyler Bakich, West Florida's Christian Bosso, and Georgia Southwestern's Vincent Norman. Tim Bombosch of Wingate (NC) is in fifth place, sitting two strokes behind Richards.
The final round of the Copperhead Championship at Innisbrook Resort is Tuesday beginning at 7:45 a.m.