COLUMBUS, Ga. - Florida Southern concluded play here Tuesday in the AFLAC/Cougar Invitational hosted by Columbus State University by shooting a final round even-par score of 284 to finish the 54 hole event held at the Country Club of Columbus in a tie for third place with Saint Leo.
The Moccasins, who are tied for fifth in the Preseason Bushnell/Golfweek Division II Coaches' Poll, finished the 54 hole event with an even-par 852 as a team to finish in a tie for third place. The Mocs entered Tuesday's final round sitting alone in third place after shooting an even-par 586 in Monday's first two rounds, but shot a 284 in the final round to fall into a tie with Saint Leo after the seventh-ranked Lions carded a 8-under par 276 to climb two spots up the final leaderboard. SLU was in fifth place after Monday's action after shooting an 8-over 576 for 36 holes.
This year's AFLAC/Cougar Invitational featured nine teams ranked in the Preseason Bushnell/Golfweek Division II Coaches' Top 25 Poll and three other teams that received votes in the preseason poll. In addition to FSC and Saint Leo, the other ranked teams included Columbus State (No. 13), West Georgia (No. 16), North Alabama (No. 17), Georgia Southwestern (No. 19), Florida Tech (No. 20), Limestone (No. 23) and Wingate (No. 25), while the teams earning votes were Belmont Abbey, Clayton State and Coker.
Columbus State took home the team title as they fired an 8-under par 844 as a team to win by six shots over Lee (Tenn.) University, who finished the event with a 2-under 850 for 54 holes playing on its home course. Lee was the clubhouse leader after Monday's first two rounds, but they shot a 3-over 287 in the final round to finish as the tournament's runner-up. Columbus State shot a 6-under 278 in the final round to overtake Lee and claim the team championship trophy.
Leading the way for the Mocs were sophomores John Coultas (Valrico, Fla.) and John VanDerLaan (Southbury, Conn.) as they each shot 3-under par 210's to finish in a tie for fifth place. Coultas, was the tournament's individual medalist last season, fired a final round score of even-par 71 to push his 54 hole total to 210, while VanDerLaan, who entered the day sitting a tie for 12th place after firing a 142 for 36 holes, shot a final round score of 3-under par to jump seven spots up the leaderboard.
Coultas fired rounds of 69, 70 and 71, while VanDerLaan had rounds of 71, 71 and 68. In addition, those two players combined for 11 birdies in the final round as VanDerLaan had six and finished with 13 birdies for the tournament, which was tied for fourth-most among all players and Coultas added five and finished with 12 for the tournament, which was tied for eighth among all players.
For the tournament, Coultas and VanDerLaan combined to play the course's three par 5 holes at 11-under par as Coultas averged a 4.33 on the par 5 holes, while VanDerLaan averaged 4.44 on the par 5 holes.
Lee's Peyton Sliger took home medalist honors as he followed up his rounds of 71 and 68 on Monday with a 3-under 68 in Tuesday's final round to win by one shot (-6, 207) over Columbus State's Robert Mize, who shot a 5-under 208 for 54 holes. Mize recorded rounds of 68, 71 and 69 respectively.
Saint Leo's Joey Savoie and Delta State's Reed Lindsey each finished with 4-under par scores of 209 to finish in a tie for third place. Savoie recorded rounds of 71, 69 and 69, while Lindsey shot rounds of 74, 68, 67 respectively.
For the tournament, 14 players shot par or better on the 6,515-yard Country Club of Columbus course. While 14 players shot par or better for the event, only four teams shot par or better for 54 holes.
In addition to Coultas and VanDerLaan, sophomore Jimmy Jones (Tampa, Fla.) finished 15th overall after carding a 54 hole score 1-over par 214. Jones followed up his rounds of 73 and 70 on Monday with an even-par 71 in Tuesday's final round. Jones had three birdies and three bogeys on his final round scorecard and finished the event with seven birdies and played the course's 11 par-4 holes at even-par for the event, which was tied for third among all golfers at the tournament.
The Mocs final counter on Tuesday was junior Levin Hoffmann (Sarstedt, Germany). Hoffmann finished the two-day, 54 hole event with an 8-over par 221 after shooting a final round 74 (+3). Hoffmann finished the tournament in a tie for 36th place. After opening with a five-over 76, he carded a second round score of even-par 71 and shot a 3-over par 74 on Tuesday.
FSC's final competitor at the event was freshman Christian Anderson (Ocala, Fla.). Anderson, who was playing in his first-ever collegiate tournament, shot a 228 for 54 holes to finish in 69th place. Anderson opened his collegiate career with a 2-over 73 in the first round, before carding a 78 in the second round and a 77 in Tuesday's final round.
The Mocs will return to course next week as they travel to Dade City, Fla., to compete in the Saint Leo Invitational. The Saint Leo Invitational is scheduled for Sept. 28-29 and will be held at the Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club.