EATONTON, Ga. – Sophomore John VanDerLaan was the only golfer in the field Monday to shoot par or better in both rounds, giving him a share of the individual lead, and sophomore John Coultas had a second-round 71 to help #6 Florida Southern finish day one of the Bobcat Invitational in third place.
Playing on the par-70 course at Cuscowilla on Lake Oconee, the Moccasins had team scores of 293 and 288, with VanDerLaan leading them in each round. His one-under par 69 in the first round had him tied for third, and when he followed that with a 70 in round two, he was tied for first with Jose Andres Miranda of Lynn. Miranda had a 66 to start the day but fell to a 73 in the afternoon. They'll take a 1-stroke lead (139-140) over Saint Leo's Hugo Bernard into Tuesday, with the rest of the field trailing by at least three strokes.
Monday's first round saw a tie for first place in the team standings between #5 Lynn and #1 Saint Leo, but Miranda was in sole possession of the individual lead thanks to his four-under par 66. That put him three strokes ahead of VanDerLaan and Saint Leo's Liam Ainsworth who were the only other golfers in the field to break par in the opening round.
Even though Saint Leo was three shots down to Lynn at its top position in the lineup, the Lions made up the difference in the third and fourth positions to grab a share of the lead during the early stages. They were three shots up on #3 Nova Southeastern and #7 Barry halfway through Monday's action, and seven ahead of Florida Southern which had a 293 in the opening round. That gave the Sunshine State Conference the top five spots in the tournament.
The Moccasins had the 69 from VanDerLaan, a 73 from sophomore Jimmy Jones, a 74 from Coultas, and a 77 from freshman Christian Anderson for their four counters, with junior Levin Hoffmann just behind them with a 78.
In the afternoon, Lynn was able to open up a 13-stroke lead over Saint Leo by getting a 69 from Elliott Whitley, a 70 from Manuel Torres, and 71's from Mateo Gomez and Martin Cancino. The 73 shot by Miranda, which was still good enough to have him tied for the individual lead, wasn't even counted in the Knights' team score of 281.
Saint Leo on the other hand counted a 69 from Bernard, as well as a 72, 76, and 77. Nine other teams out-shot the Lions in the second round, including Florida Southern, with the Moccasins' 288 topped by only Lynn's 281.
VanDerLaan was again the Moccasin leader with his even-par 70, followed by Coultas' 71. Jones had a 73, and Hoffmann had a 74 to complete their second-round counters, and Anderson shot a 75 that was better than the #5 golfer for any team except Lynn. That allowed the Moccasins to close the gap on the only two teams still in front of them, putting them 14 shots behind Lynn and only one behind Saint Leo.
Fourth-place Nova Southeastern was two shots behind Florida Southern, with Barry and Columbus State tied for fifth and trailing the Moccasins by only three shots.
In addition VanDerLaan in a tie for first, Coultas is tied for 14th with a 145, Jones is tied for 19th with a 146, and Anderson and Hoffmann are each tied for 57th with scores of 152.
The Bobcat Invitational concludes with one round Tuesday.