HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS - Florida Southern had all four of its counters here Monday shoot between two-under par (70) and three-over par (75) in the opening round of the 2015 NCAA Division II South/Southeast Super Regional to finish with a five-over par 293 to sit in a tie for seventh place out of 20 teams at the Mission Inn Resort's El Campeon Course.
With its score of 293, the third-ranked Moccasins, who are making its 40th consecutive NCAA Regional appearance and 44th overall in school history, and sixth-ranked Nova Southeastern are within 13 shots of first round leader West Florida. The No. 5 ranked Argonauts shot an 8-under 280 in Monday's opening round and is two shots in front of No. 2 ranked Lynn, who fired a 6-under 282 in the first round.
In fact, 10 teams are within 18 shots of the leader heading into Tuesday's second round of action. The South/Southeast Super Regional Tournament will conclude on Wednesday, May 4 with the top five teams and top two individuals (not on an advancing teams) earning a spot in the 2016 NCAA Division II National Championships in Denver, Colo., on May 17-21.
The Mocs, who teed off in the morning from hole No. 1, opened by shooting a 7-over as a team on the front nine, before firing a 2-under on the back nine to set its team score of 293. FSC is one of 10 teams that shot under 300 in the first round of the tournament on the 6,928-yard El Campeon Course at the Mission Inn Resort.
Leading the way for the Mocs was sophomore John Coultas (Valrico, Fla.) as the Sunshine State Conference Player of the Year fired a 2-under 70 to sit in a tie for seventh place after the first 18 holes of the 54-hole tournament. Coultas, who was recently named as one of the semifinalists for the Division II Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award presented by Barbasol, was one of 19 golfers to shoot under par in the opening round. He opened the first round by shooting a 1-over 36 on the front nine, before carding 3-under 34 on the back nine. On the day, Coultas recorded five birdies, three bogeys and 11 pars on his scorecard.
Sitting behind West Florida and Lynn after the first round is Limestone and 19th-ranked Columbus State, who each carded 3-over 291's as a team to sit in a tie for third place. Seventh-ranked Barry and 16th-ranked Georgia Southwestern are tied for fifth after shooting 4-over 292's as a team.
Right behind the Mocs and Nova Southeastern is Lander, who shot a 6-over 294 to sit in ninth place, while fourth-ranked Saint Leo carded a 10-over 298 to sit in 10th place and 17th-ranked West Georgia shot a 13-over 301 to stand in 11th place.
This year's South/Southeast Super Regional features 15 of the Top 25 teams in the latest Bushnell Golfweek Division II Coaches' Poll, including nine of the teams comprising the South Region.
West Florida's Chandler Blanchet and Lynn's Manuel Torres turned in the best rounds of the day on Monday as they each shot 7-under par 65's to sit atop the leaderboard. Blanchet and Torres are two shots in front of Nova Southeastern's Richard Mansell, who shot a 5-under 67 to sit in third place and they are three shots in front of Barry's Nico Cavero, who fired a 4-under 68 to sit in fourth place.
In addition to Coultas, sophomore Jimmy Jones (Tampa, Fla.) and freshman Christian Anderson (Ocala, Fla.) each carded 2-over 74's in the opening round to sit in a tie for 29th place. In Monday's first round, Jones carded a 2-over 37 on the front nine and then shot an even par 37 on the back nine, while Anderson shot a 3-over 38 on the front nine and then fired a 1-under 36 on the back nine. Jones and Anderson each finished with two birdies, four bogeys and 12 pars on their first round scorecards.
The final counter for the Mocs on Monday was sophomore John VanDerLaan (Southbury, Conn.) as he shot a 3-over 75 for 18 holes to finish in a tie for 38th place. VanDerLaan, who is also a semifinalist for the Jack Nicklaus Division II Player of the Year Award presented by Barbasol, opened with a 1-over 36 on the front nine and then shot a 2-over 39 on the back nine, including carding three straight bogeys to complete his round. VanDerLaan finished his round with two birdies, five bogeys and 11 pars on his scorecard.
FSC's final competitor on Monday was junior Levin Hoffmann (Sarstedt, Germany) as he shot a 7-over 79 to sit in a tie for 79th place after 18 holes of action. Hoffmann opened his round by shooting a 4-over 39 on the front nine, including carding a triple-bogey on the 7th hole and then shooting a 3-over 40 on the back nine. For the round, Hoffmann failed to shoot a birdie as he had two bogeys, a double bogey, a triple bogey and 14 pars on his scorecard.
The Mocs will return to the course on Tuesday for the second round. They are scheduled to tee off from the No. 10 tee beginning at 12:50 p.m. with the same two teams (Nova Southeastern and Columbus State) that they were paired with on Monday. The No. 1 golfers in the threesome will tee off at 1:30 p.m.
Click here for live hole-by-hole scoring of South/Southeast Super Regional
Click here for the pairings for Tuesday's second round of the South/Southeast Super Regional