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Weather Rules the Day at Newberry Invitational as Florida Southern Finishes Second to Young Harris

From left to right: Johnny Tucker, Max Coutsolioutsos, Christian Anderson, Chase Ibbotson, Mike VanDerLaan & head coach Lee White
From left to right: Johnny Tucker, Max Coutsolioutsos, Christian Anderson, Chase Ibbotson, Mike VanDerLaan & head coach Lee White

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – One look at the weather Tuesday at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island made Florida Southern coach Lee White realize one thing. Anyone who could shoot a 75 would have a very good score. For the record, only seven golfers did it in a field of 90, and none did better than a 74. With scores soaring throughout the day, No. 5 Florida Southern was unable to hold its second-round lead as No. 14 Young Harris came from behind to win the Newberry College Invitational by two shots over the Moccasins.

The weather was the biggest story and made an already difficult course even more challenging. As if a temperature that hovered around 50 degrees and 20-mile per hour winds weren't enough, rain moved in by the end of the day to take the game to another level. The result was an average team score of 321, which translated to an average score of 80.25 for the team's counters. Young Harris had the best score of the day with a 310, a score that would have put the Mountain Lions last in both of Monday's rounds, but instead vaulted them up from fourth place to first, and gave them their third straight tournament win.

Florida Southern was sitting at -8 going into the final round with an 11-shot lead over Arkansas Tech, was 16 shots ahead of 2nd-ranked Lynn, and 18 shots in front of Young Harris. The Mocs' best score though on Tuesday was an 80 from Max Coutsolioutsos, and most of the other team leaders in the tournament weren't far off that mark. They counted nothing worse than an 84, which was better than many of the other 17 teams could say. Young Harris was the only team that did not have to count at least one 81 or much worse. The Mountain Lions managed to keep all four of their counters between 75 and 79 and it was enough to overcome an 18-shot deficit.

While Young Harris had a winning score of +32 and Florida Southern was second with a +34, 4th-ranked Florida Tech finished third at +38. Lynn was fourth at +39, and Georgia Southwestern was fifth at +40. That put the Moccasins ahead of both of the other top-five teams in the tournament.

Following his Monday rounds of 65 and 67 that put him at -12, Michael VanDerLaan shot an 85 on Tuesday but still finished in second place at one-over-par 217, giving Florida Southern a runner-up individual for the second week in a row. The only golfer who was able to catch him was Joel Sylven of Missouri-St. Louis, who shot a 74 to finish at even-par 216. Sylven was the only member of his team to shoot in the 70s, and UMSL still finished seventh.

Valter Andersson remained in third place after a 78 put him at +2 overall, one stroke behind VanDerLaan. Two other golfers tied for fourth at +3.

The 80 turned in by Coutsolioutsos put him in a tie for ninth place with an overall score of 222 (+6). Young Harris and Lynn also had two players finish in the top-10, but Lynn was hit especially hard after that with no one else in the top-50.

Johnny Tucker had an 84 in the final round to tie for 28th overall at 229 (+13), Christian Anderson had an 82 for a total score of 232 (+16) that tied him for 46th, and Chase Ibbotson carded an 84 that gave him a 233 (+17) that tied him for 51st.

The Moccasins' next action will come this Saturday when they face Columbia University in a rare dual match at Rio Pinar Golf Club in Orlando.