VALDOSTA, GA – On a day in which only one of 18 teams broke par, 2nd-ranked Florida Southern was able to move up two spots into a fourth-place tie with Barry, and remains in the hunt at the prestigious Southeastern Collegiate at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club. The Moccasins and Buccaneers are two of the seven teams within 10 shots of first place, and trail the co-leaders West Florida and Newberry by six.
Three different teams held the lead at different stages Monday, with top-ranked West Florida starting in that spot and winding up there again at the end of the day with a lot of twists and turns in between. The Argonauts dropped all the way down to fourth at one point, with Lander and Newberry (SC) taking their turns in first, and Lynn getting within a single stroke after starting the day 13th. The Knights' climb was led by Felix Kvarnstrom, who shot a 66, though Manuel Torres was their only golfer to shoot even-par for the day. That helped Lynn post a 286 that was six shots better than any other team in round two.
Newberry had sole possession of first when its final golfer completed play, but West Florida and Lander were still on the course. The Wolves were up by one over West Florida, but the Argos caught them when Chandler Blanchet birdied their final hole, pulling the two teams even at -1 for the tournament. It was not an especially strong day for the Argos, who had to count a 79 after their number two player in the lineup Jacob Huizinga had an 81. The Wolves' top two counters were Spencer Skiff and Carlos Leandro with a 70 and 71 respectively, and Leandro picked up his third eagle of the tournament by doing that on No. 4 for the second day in a row.
While Lynn (286) and Newberry (292) had the two best team scores Monday, Florida Southern was third with a 295, and many of the other top-flight teams weren't even close to that. Lander and Rollins, who had been second and third at -9 and -6 when the day began, each shot a 306 to fall into seventh and eighth.
The Mocs were led by John VanDerLaan's four-under-par 68 that made him one of only seven golfers to shoot even-par or better, and the only score better than VanDerLaan's was Kvarnstrom's 66 for Lynn. They were the only two in the field of 93 to shoot in the 60s. That meant VanDerLaan jumped 11 spots in the individual standings to take over second place, just two strokes behind Blanchet, who maintained his first-round lead with a 72.
When VanDerLaan finished his round Monday, Blanchet still had six holes remaining and held a one-stroke lead. VanDerLaan started strong too with birdies on three of his first five holes and he made the turn at two-under. A bogey on 12 hurt only briefly as the senior responded with three more birdies on 13, 15, and 17 to close at -4 for the day. Combined with his 70 on Sunday, that put him at six-under-par 138 for the tournament with a dozen birdies.
Blanchet had three bogeys and no birdies on the front nine Monday but three birdies and no bogeys on the back. That gave him 10 birdies in the tournament to go along with one eagle. His first-round 64 gives him a 136 (-6), two strokes ahead of VanDerLaan and four ahead of Leandro from Newberry.
John Coultas got off to a similar start as VanDerLaan with birdies on two of his first three holes, but a tough stretch from 5 through 10 resulted in four bogeys and moved his daily score from two-under to two-over. A birdie on the par-3 No. 15 gave him a chance to get back to even before the end of the round, or perhaps under-par again, but an uncharacteristic double-bogey on 17 resulted in a 75 for the day. That left him tied for 12th overall at even-par 144.
Shooting a matching score of 75 Monday was Christian Anderson, who was +1 on the front and +2 on the back. His run of 10 straight holes from 3 through 12 was the Mocs' longest in the round without a bogey. He heads into the final round tied for 35th with a 149 (+5).
Chase Ibbotson was Florida Southern's fourth counter with a 77, and Jacob Penny added 78. Ibbotson made the turn at +3 and was +2 on the back nine, though bogeys on 15 and 16 cut into his improved score. He's tied for 43rd overall with a 150 (+6). Penny was seven-over after just six holes but went one-under the rest of the day. That was just one stroke off what VanDerLaan did during that same 12-hole stretch, and it put him in a tie for 60th with a total score of 153 (+9).
The final round at of the Southeastern Collegiate begins Tuesday morning at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club at 9:21 a.m. Florida Southern will begin play at 10:15.