SAINT LEO, FL – A team-best one-under-par 71 by senior Christian Anderson and a trio of 73s gave 4th-ranked Florida Southern its best round of the Sunshine State Conference Championships, and kept the Moccasins in fourth place in the final standings. The Moccasins had enough to hold off No. 14 Saint Leo and No. 19 Rollins, who finished three shots behind them in a tie for fifth. Top-ranked Barry held on to the lead to earn a six-shot victory over No. 2 Lynn for the SSC title, and No. 7 Nova Southeastern was third.
The five teams that entered the final round in first through fifth place all maintained those positions Tuesday, though Rollins was able to catch Saint Leo to force the tie for fifth with a 10-shot margin over seventh-place and fifth-ranked Florida Tech. The Panthers' score of 290 was the same as Florida Southern and Saint Leo, but there was too much ground to make up for them to finish in the top-five. Palm Beach Atlantic had an even-par 288 in the final round and did move up two spots to finish eighth.
Barry's final score of -20, which included a 277 in the third round, set a new SSC Tournament record, breaking the previous mark of -19 they originally set at Lake Jovita in 2014, which was matched last year by Florida Tech. The Buccaneers counted nothing worse than a 72 in the tournament and had all five of their golfers finish in the top-10.
Niclas Weiland was one of those Barry golfers, winning medalist honors with a nine-under-par 207 to beat defending champion Juan Jose Guerra of Nova Southeastern by two strokes while playing in the same group for round three. Guerra had a 66 Tuesday and got within one shot with three holes to play, but had a double-bogey on 16, a hole Weiland birdied. That made Weiland the fifth different Buccaneer to win SSC medalist honors this decade, and with all five of their golfers at -1 or better in the tournament, Barry won its fourth team title in the last seven years.
Anderson was one of three Moccasins who started the final round by birdying hole No. 1, a par-five covering 557 yards. That was Anderson's only birdie on the front nine and he made the turn at +1, but on the back side of the course he birdied four of the final seven holes. Altogether, on Tuesday, Anderson birdied or parred every par-5 and par-3 on the course. That moved him up to 23rd place overall with a total score of 222 (+6).
One of the Moccasins' three 73s came from junior Chase Ibbotson, who was their highest finisher of the tournament in a tie for 12th place at even-par 216. He had back-to-back birdies on 5 and 6, and parred the next eight holes, putting him at -1 for the day with four holes remaining. He barely missed the first postseason top-10 of his career after a bogey on 18, but the 216 was still his best since going four-under at the Cougar Invitational in September, and it equaled his scored from the Super Regional tournament as a freshman.
Freshman Max Coutsolioutsos' 73 allowed him to tie for 20th place with a 221 (+5). He started the day with three birdies on the first five holes and turned at -2. He was still two-under with two holes remaining before a double bogey on 17 and bogey on 18 left him at +1. Coutsolioutsos tied Anderson for the team lead in the tournament though with 12 birdies, which was tied for eighth overall.
Senior Michael VanDerLaan tied for 27th with a 223 after his best round of the tournament. VanDerLaan had a nearly identical front nine to Coutsolioutsos, with the only difference coming on No. 3, a hole VanDerLaan parred and Coutsolioutsos bogeyed. With three birdies and no bogeys of his own on the front nine, VanDerLaan turned at -3 and was still two-under before a triple-bogey on the par-4 No. 12. He recovered from that with six straight pars to shoot a 73 for the day with the fewest plus-holes of any Moccasin in the round.
Freshman Johnny Tucker tied for 35th though his 74 was not counted in the team score on Tuesday. That gave him a 226 (+10) for the tournament. Tucker was one of four Moccasins who birdied both No. 5 and No. 6 in the final round, with Anderson, Coutsolioutsos, and VanDerLaan also doing that. For the second day in a row, he shook off a tough stretch in the middle of his round and finished strong by playing even par for the final eight holes.
Florida Southern will now await word from the NCAA on its seeding for the upcoming South/Southeast Super Regional. The Moccasins are expected to receive an at-large bid for the tournament after they were ranked fifth in the latest NCAA regional poll prior to the SSC Tournament. Those teams will be announced on Friday, April 26. The South/Southeast Super Regional is May 9-11 at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-In-The Hills, Florida.