CONOVER, N.C. - Florida Southern improved by two shots here Tuesday in the second round of the NCAA Division II National Championships as they shot a 10-over 294 to fall one spot to 13th heading into Wednesday's final round of stroke play competition on the Jones Course at the Rock Barn Golf & Spa.
With its 294 on Tuesday, the eighth-ranked Moccasins, who teed off in the morning and then watched the scoreboard as the teams that teed off in the afternoon moved up and down the leaderboard, pushed its 36 hole total score to 590. The Mocs are just 10 shots out of eighth place, which is the position they need to be in to advance to the match/medal play round that begins on Thursday, heading into the final 18 holes.
"It was like a roller coaster out there today for our team. I mean we had some really good things as we made a lot of birdies and we made a lot of big numbers (double bogeys or worse)," Moccasin head coach Doug Gordin said. "The good thing is that we made the birdies, but the bad thing is you can't make those double bogeys or worse and compete with these good teams."
On the day, the Mocs finished with 19 birdies, but had 17 bogeys and nine double bogeys or worse for the round. The Mocs are second in the tournament with a total of 35 birdies and are tied for the tournament lead in par 5 scoring as they are averaging 4.83 (5-under) on the course's three par 5 holes through 36 holes.
The top eight teams, which are currently separated by a total of 13 strokes, at the end of action on Wednesday will advance to match/medal play, which will determine the Division II national team champion.
USC Aiken fired a 1-under 283 in the second round to overtake first round leader and top-ranked Nova Southeastern and move into first place on the leaderboard as the Pacers have shot a 1-under 567 as a team after 36 holes. Saint Leo shot a 6-under 278 in the second round to jump seven spots up the leaderboard and move into second place after carding an even-par 568 for 36 holes and Nova Southeastern carded a 7-over 291 in the second round to fall into third place with a 2-over 570 for 36 holes. SLU's 278 in the second round was the lowest round of the tournament to date by any team in the field.
The Mocs are one shot behind 12th-place Cal State-Monterey Bay as they shot a second round 289 to push their 36 hole total to 589 and are seven shots in front of 14th-place Wilmington as they fired a 295 in the second round and have carded a 597 for 36 holes.
"You know, it is what it is and as I told the team, you can go out there tomorrow, relax and play and see what happens as we are going to a ways back," said Gordin, who has led the Mocs to five Division II National Championships with the most recent one coming in 2010. "Hopefully we can play a round without making more than a bogey and if we do that, I think we'll be fine."
Lynn and Central Missouri are tied for fourth as they have each carded 5-over 573's, while Simon Fraser is sixth as they shot a 285 in the second round and have shot 574 for 36 holes. Two-time defending national champion Barry is seventh as they carded a 286 in the second round and have shot an 11-over 579 for 36 holes and Cal State-Chico is eighth as they shot a 291 on Tuesday and have fired a 12-over 580 for 36 holes.
Leading the way for the Mocs in round two on Tuesday was freshman John Coultas (Valrico, Fla.) as he turned in another solid round of golf as the Second-Team All-Sunshine State Conference honoree fired an even-par 71 to stand tied for seventh overall after shooting a 1-under par 141 for 36 holes. Coultas, who entered the day in a tie for sixth place after shooting a 1-under 70 in Monday's opening round, is one 13 players that have shot under par through 36 holes on the 7,021-yard Jones Course at Rock Barn. In the second round, Coultas just two birdies, two bogeys and 14 pars on his scorecard and shot a 1-under 35 on the front nine (holes 10-18) and a 1-over 36 on the back nine (holes 1-9). The Mocs teed off from hole No. 10 on Tuesday morning.
Coultas comes into Wednesday's final day of action five shots behind both Central Missouri's Sam Migdal and Saint Leo's Ryan Gendron. Migdal, who followed up his first round 66 with an even-par 71 in the second round to push his 36 hole total to 137, while Gendron, who shot a 4-under 67 on Tuesday to push his 36 hole total score to a 5-under 137 to jump five spots up the leaderboard after carding a 1-under 70 in the opening round. USC Aiken's Brandon Robinson-Thompson shot a 3-under 68 in the second round to jump 18 spots up the leaderboard to move into third place after firing a 3-under 139 for 36 holes. Three golfers are tied for fourth place after shooting 2-under 140's for 36 holes.
The Mocs two-shot improvement was keyed by freshman John VanDerLaan (Southbury, Conn.) and sophomore Levin Hoffmann (Sarstedt, Germany) as they both improved their round one scored by a combined six shots in Tuesday's second round. VanDerLaan, who had his 8-over 79 dropped on Monday, rebounded in Tuesday's second round by firing a 6-over par 77 to pushg his two-day, 36 hole total to 156, while Hoffmann, who shot a 7-over par 78 in the opening round, finished with a 2-over par 74 on Tuesday to push his 36 hole total score to 152.
VanDerLaan, who entered the day sitting in a tie for 94th, is now sitting in a tie for 93rd place heading into Wednesday's final round and Hoffmann jumped 11 spots on the leaderboard as he is now tied for 74th place after being tied for 85th in the first round. VanDerLaan opened his second round by firing a 6-over 42 on the back nine, before shooting an even-par 35 on the front nine for his 77. After recording just two birdies on Monday, VanDerLaan had four birdies on Tuesday, while Hoffmann opened with a 1-under 35 on the back nine and then shot a 4-over 39 on the back nine. Hoffmann had four birdies, but closed his round by shooting two bogeys and a double bogey on three of his final four holes.
The Mocs second counter on Tuesday was freshman Jimmy Jones (Tampa, Fla.) as he fired a 1-over 72 on Tuesday to push its two-day, 36 hole total to 144 to sit tied for 25th. Jones shot an even-par 36 on the back nine and then fired a 1-over 36 on the front nine. He recorded four birdies, inclduing three on the back nine and had three bogeys and a double bogey on his scorecard.
FSC's final competitor on Tuesday was sophomore Jason Huntington (Lakeland, Fla.) as he carded a 10-over 81 to push his two-day, 36 hole total score to 157 to move into a tie for 95th place. Huntington, who shot a 5-over 76 on Monday, fired a 4-over 40 on the back nine and had a 6-over 41 on the front nine. Despite his struggles, Huntington did manage to record five birdies on his scorecard in the second round.
The Mocs will return to the course on Wednesday as they will tee off in a group of threesomes with Wilmington and Indianapolis, who they played with in the first two rounds. FSC, Wilmington and Indianapolis will tee off from the No. 1 tee beginning at 8:25 a.m.
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