DADE CITY - For the second straight day, Florida Southern needed to rally on the back nine here Wednesday afternoon to push itself back into the Top 6 of the team standings at the NCAA Division II South/Southeast Super Regional at Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club and earn a spot in the 2015 NCAA Division II National Championships, which are scheduled for May 18-22 in Conover, N.C.
Going into the final nine holes (10-18) on the back nine at Lake Jovita, the Moccasins were sitting in a tie for 12th place after having its five golfers shoot 10-over par, while its five golfers rebounded on the back nine to shoot two-under par to jump six spots to sixth place once their round was completed. In the final round, the Mocs shot a one-over 289 and complete the three day tournament with a team score of 881 for 54 holes.
The Mocs, who were sixth place entering Wednesday's final round, placed sixth overall as they were three shots in front of seventh place West Florida (884) and was two shots behind fifth place Saint Leo, who shot an 879 for 54 holes on its home course.
FSC's charge on the back nine was aided by the play of two of its freshmen - John VanDerLaan (Southbury, Conn.) and John Coultas (Valrico, Fla.). VanDerLaan, who was the only Moc to shoot under par on the front nine, carded a 4-under 32 on the back nine to finish the final round with a 5-under 67, while Coultas, who shot a 1-over 37 on the front nine, fired a 2-under 34 on the back nine to finish the final round with a one-under 71. VanDerLaan's final round 67 was tied for the lowest round of the day with Nova Southeastern's Richard Mansell.
Thanks to his play on Wednesday, VanDerLaan jumped 13 spots on the final leaderboard as he tied for fourth place overall after shooting a 54 hole total of 4-under par 212. He carded rounds of 71, 74 and 67 respectively. On his scorecard in the final round, VanDerLaan recorded six birdies and one bogey and played the course's four par 5 holes at six-under.
Top-ranked Nova Southeastern fired a 13-under par 275 in the final round to jump in front of second round leader Lynn and take home the South/Southeast Super Regional title for the second straight year. The Sharks final round score of 275 pushed its 54 hole total to 19-under 845. Lynn shot a 293 in the final round to fall into second place as they shot a nine-under 855 for 54 holes.
Barry also carded a 293 in the final round and finished third overall as the Buccaneers fired an 11-over 875 for 54 holes, while USC Aiken also shot a 293 in the final round and placed fourth overall with a 12-over 876 for 54 holes and Saint Leo shot a 295 on Wednesday to finish in fifth place with a 15-over 879 for 54 holes. Five of the six teams that earned spots in the National Championship field from the South/Southeast Super Regional are from the Sunshine State Conference.
Mansell's 67 helped him overtake his Sharks teammates, Oscar Lengden and Santiago Lopez, for medalist honors at the super regional. Mansell, who was in second place after two rounds, finished the three-day, 54-hole tournament with a 7-under 209. Lengden shot a 3-under 69 in the final round and Gomez fired a 70 in the final round to finish tied for second place with a 5-under 211 for 54 holes.
In addition to the six teams that advanced to the national championships from the South/Southeast Super Regional, two individuals not on one of the advancing teams also will compete at nationals and those two individual qualifiers are North Alabama's Forest Knight, who finished tied for eighth with a 1-under 215 for 54 holes and Florida Tech's Gaelan Trew, who defeated West Georgia's Kevin Clarke in a one-hole playoff to earn the final individual spot. Trew and Clarke each shot even-par 216's for 54 holes. On the one hole playoff, Trew birded the par 5 No. 9 to outpace Clarke.
In addition to VanDerLaan, Coultas' 71 helped him finish in a tie for 18th place with a 2-over 218 for 54 holes. In Wednesday's final round, Coultas recorded six birdies, seven pars and five bogeys on his scorecard. Coultas shot a 74 in the opening round and had a 73 in the second round.
The next Moccasin finisher was sophomore Levin Hoffmann (Sarstedt, Germany) as he carded a final round 77 to finish in a tie for 48th place after carding a 226 for 54 holes. Hoffmann's 77 was his highest single round score for the tournament. In the final round, Hoffmann, who shot a 74 and 75 respectively in the first two rounds, recorded three bogeys, a double bogey and played the back nine at even-par 36.
Freshman Jimmy Jones (Tampa, Fla.) was the Mocs fourth and final counter in the final round as he rebounded after firing back-to-back rounds of 76 and 78 in the first two rounds to shoot a 2-over 74 on Wednesday. Jones finished the tournament in a tie for 57th place with a 228 for 54 holes. On Wednesday, Jones recorded four birdies, four bogeys, a double bogey and eight pars on his scorecard.
The final competitor the Mocs was sophomore Jason Huntington (Lakeland, Fla.) as he shot a 79 in the final round to fall into a tie for 68th with a 230 for 54 holes. In the first two rounds, Huntington shot rounds of 73 and 78 respectively. On Wednesday, the former Dreadnaught carded three birdies, three bogeys and four double bogeys on his scorecard.
FSC will now return to golf course on May 18-22 as they compete in the 2015 NCAA D-II National Championships at the Rock Barn Golf & Spa in Conover, N.C. The national championships will consist of 20 teams from the four combined super regionals and a total of eight individuals (the top two from each super regional not on an advancing team). The first three days of the tournament are stroke play and the field is then narrowed to the top eight teams for two days of match play to determine the national champion. FSC has won an NCAA D-II best 12 men's golf national championships with the most recent one coming in 2010.
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