EATONTON, GA – Cold and windy conditions did not deter the Florida Southern men's golf team Monday at the Bobcat Invitational as the 4th-ranked Moccasins were one of two teams to break par for the day and had four golfers among the top-20 through the first two rounds of the tournament. Florida Southern will go into Tuesday's final round trailing only Lynn, with the Knights at -3 and the Mocs at -1.
Monday's first round ended with two teams tied for first (top-ranked Barry and Clayton State), two more tied for third (No. 4 Florida Southern and No. 9 Nova Southeastern, and all four of them within one shot. No. 2 Lynn was in fifth place and only three shots off the pace.
The Moccasins had two players shoot a 68 in the opening round on the par-70 course at Cuscowilla on Lake Oconee, with senior Michael VanDerLaan one of them and the other being freshman Johnny Tucker. VanDerLaan had three birdies to put himself at three-under after 11, and his only bogey came on 15. Tucker started his day with birdies on the first two holes before parring the next 16.
Freshman Max Coutsolioutsos birdied 2 and three to match Tucker at two-under in the early going, but a rough stretch from 7 through 13 put him at +3. A birdie on 16 sent him through at +2 before he was the Mocs' leading scorer in the second round.
Senior Christian Anderson was the Mocs' fourth counter in round one, shooting a three-over-par 73. He parred every hole on the front nine before three bogeys on the back, but just as Coutsolioutsos did, Anderson broke par in round two.
Junior Chase Ibbotson turned in a first-round 74 that was not counted in the team score of 281 (+1).
In round two, all five Moccasins were at +2 or better, led by Coutsolioutsos at -2, and Anderson at -1. With Ibbotson shooting an even-par 70, and Tucker at one-over-par 71, Florida Southern had a team score of 278 (-2), as the Mocs moved ahead of Barry and Clayton State, which had scores of 282 and 291 respectively. Lynn, however, had a 274 to move up from fifth and ahead of Florida Southern by two shots.
The re-shuffled standings also had Barry third at +2, but still just five shots out of first. There was a drop-off after the Buccaneers though, with Lander in fourth place at +10, and Clayton State and USC-Aiken tied for fifth at +11. No. 3 West Florida and Rollins were tied for seventh at +13, and Nova, which had been tied with Florida Southern at the end of round one, fell all the way to ninth at +16.
Coutsolioutsos' team-best 68 included four birdies. Anderson has two birdies on his scorecard of 69, but only one bogey with 15 pars. Ibbotson had three birdies in his round of even-par 70, but did have to contend with a double-bogey on 12. Two of his birdies came after that, getting him back down to even-par by the end of the round.
Tucker matched Coutsolioutsos with four birdies in the round on his way to a 71, and VanDerLaan's 72 was not used in the team score.
Overall, Tucker finished the day at one-under-par 139, making him one of seven golfers who were tied for fourth place. That large group of four strokes behind the co-leaders, Jorge Garcia of Barry (68-67, -5) and Carlos Marrero (69-66, -5) of West Florida, though Marrero was playing as an individual. Maxime Legros of Lander was alone in third place with a two-under-par 138 (70-68).
Coutsolioutsos and VanDerLaan are tied for 11th at even-par 140, Anderson is tied for 20th at two-over-par 142, and Ibbotson is tied for 29th at four-over-par 144. Florida Southern and Lynn both have four golfers in the top-20, but Ibbotson is 20 spots ahead of the Knights' fifth golfer.
The tournament concludes Tuesday.