HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS - Florida Southern concluded play here Wednesday afternoon by shooting a final round 3-over par 291 to finish third overall in the team standings at the NCAA Division II South/Southeast Super Regional at the Mission Inn Resort's El Campeon Course and earn one of five spots from the Super Regional into the 2016 NCAA Division II National Championships, which are scheduled for May 17-21 at the Green Valley Golf Club in Denver, Colo.
The third-ranked Moccasins, who are advancing to the National Championships for the second consecutive season and 37th time in school history, entered Wednesday's final just three shots out of the lead and heading into the final six holes of the back nine, the Mocs were in first place, but FSC had its four counters shoot 3-over on its final six holes on the back nine to fall from the lead. For the tournament, the Mocs shot a 4-over par 868 as a team for 54 holes to finish two shots out of second and five shots out of first place.
"It was a solid regional. We let some shots slide here and there, but overall it was solid," Moccasin head coach Doug Gordin said following Wednesday's final round. "We finished third and we're advancing, so we're pleased about that."
While the Mocs struggled on the final six holes of the back nine, No. 2 ranked Lynn and No. 4 ranked Saint Leo, who finished first and second respectively, shot a combined 8-under par on those same six holes. Lynn won the team title as the Fighting Knights carded a 1-over 289 in the final round and finished with a 1-under 863 for 54 holes, while Saint Leo carded an even-par 288 in the final round to push their 54 hole total to a 2-over 866.
Wednesday's final round, which was played in foursomes and began with a shotgun start, began at 9:30 a.m., which was two hours later than originally planned due to inclement weather in the area. The Mocs played the final round with Lynn, West Florida and Saint Leo.
In addition to Lynn, Saint Leo and Florida Southern, the other two teams that qualified for the National Championships from the Super Regional were No. 5 ranked West Florida, who shot a final round 299 (+11) and finished with a 10-over par 874 and No. 7 ranked Barry, who shot a final round 293 (+5) to finish the 54 hole event with an 18-over 882 to finish ahead of both sixth-ranked and defending Division II National Champion Nova Southeastern and Columbus State, who shot 299 and 300 respectively in the final round to finish with a 24-over 888 score for 54 holes to finish in a tie for sixth place.
Leading the way for the Mocs was sophomore All-American John Coultas (Valrico, Fla.) as he shot a final round 3-under par 69 to finish in second place overall with a 9-under 207 for 54 holes. Coultas, who entered the final round in third place, fell one shot short of a playoff to determine the super regional individual medalist as Lynn's Manuel Torres, who played in the final round with Coultas, shot a final round 70 to win medalist honors by one shot as he shot a 10-under 206 for 54 holes.
Coultas, who shot under par in all three rounds of the super regional, opened the final round by shooting a 1-under 34 on the front nine, before carding a 2-under 35 on the back nine. The 69 shot by Coultas was tied for the lowest round of the day as Saint Leo's Hugo Bernard and USC Aiken's Johnson Holliday also shot 69's. Coultas recorded four birdies, a bogey and 14 pars on his final round scorecard and finished the tournament with 16 birdies, which was second most among all 108 players and was tied for the tournament lead in par 4 scoring as he played the par 4's in an average score of 3.87 (4-under).
"John (Coultas) played outstanding and has been doing that lately," said Gordin about Coultas' performance. "He had a chance to win the conference tournament and he's playing really well right now. I think he has a very good chance to win the individual championship at nationals."
In addition to Torres and Coultas, UWF's Chandler Blanchet, who shared the second round lead with Torres, carded a final round 73 (+1) to finish with a 7-under 209 for 54 holes and finish in third place. Bernard's final round 69 helped him climb four spots up the leaderboard as he finished fourth after shooting a 4-under 212 for 54 holes and Limestone's Griffin Brown placed fifth overall after carding a final round 74 and shooting a 3-under 213 for 54 holes.
Along with the five teams that advanced to the national championships from the South/Southeast Super Regional, two individuals not on one of the five advancing teams will also compete at nationals and those two individual qualifiers were Brown and Nova Southeastern's Richard Mansell. Mansell earned the second individual spot after shooting a final round 76 (+4) and carding a 1-under 215 for 54 holes to finish in seventh place overall.
The Mocs second counter on Wednesday was sophomore All-American Jimmy Jones (Tampa, Fla.) as he carded a final round 73 (+1) to push his 54 hole total to a 1-over 217 to finish in a tie for 11th place. In Wednesday's final round, Jones opened by shooting a 1-under 34 on the front nine and then fired a 2-over 39 on the back nine, including recording bogeys on the 17th and 18th holes. On his final round scorecard, Jones, who carded rounds of 74 and 70 in the first two rounds, recorded four birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 No. 7 hole.
FSC's third counter on Wednesday was sophomore All-American John VanDerLaan (Southbury, Conn.) as he carded a final round score of 2-over 74 to push his 54 hole total to a 4-over 220 to finish in a tie for 19th place. VanDerLaan, who fired rounds of 75 and 71 in the first two rounds, opened the final round by shooting an even-par 35 on the front nine and then shot a 2-over 39 on the back nine. VanDerLaan, who began on the second hole, recorded a birdie, three bogeys and 14 pars on his scorecard.
The Mocs fourth and final counter was freshman Christian Anderson (Ocala, Fla.) as he carded a final round 75 (+3) to finish in a tie for 50th place with a 12-over par 228 for 54 holes. Anderson, who began on the third hole, opened with a 2-over 37 on the front nine, while firing a 1-over 38 on the back nine. In the final round, Anderson, who carded rounds of 74 and 79 respectively in the first two rounds, had two birdies, three bogeys, one double bogey and 12 pars on his scorecard.
Junior Levin Hoffmann (Sarstedt, Germany) was the final competitor for the Mocs as he fired a 10-over 82 in the final round to push his 54 hole total to a 20-over 236 to finish in a tie for 86th place. Hoffmann, who fired rounds of 79 and 75 respectively in the first two rounds, shot a 1-over 36 on the front nine and then fired a 9-over 46 on the back nine. In the final round, Hoffmann began on the fourth hole.
The Mocs will now return to the golf course on May 17-22 as they compete at the 2016 NCAA Division II National Championships at the Green Valley Golf Club in Denver, Colo. This year's men's golf championships will be conducted as part of the Division II Spring Sports Championship Festival. 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.
Click here for live hole-by-hole scoring of South/Southeast Super Regional