EATONTON, GA – With John VanDerLaan putting together two rounds in the 60s, and Michael VanDerLaan carding a pair of 71s, 2nd-ranked Florida Southern finished the first day of the Bobcat Invitational in third place and within striking distance of tournament-leading No. 14 South Carolina-Aiken. The Moccasins' total score of 564 on the par-70 course at Cuscowilla on Lake Oconee put them seven shots behind the Pacers, and three behind second-place Barry.
The Moccasins were six shots ahead of top-ranked West Florida, with Nova Southeastern and Lynn tied for fifth, trailing USC-Aiken by 15 shots and Florida Southern by eight. The tournament includes seven of the nation's top-10 teams and 10 of the top-20. Besides West Florida (No. 1), Florida Southern (No. 2), Nova (No. 3), Barry (No. 4) and Lynn (No. 6), Columbus State (No. 7) is in 10th place, and Saint Leo (No. 10) is in 11th.
In Monday's first round, Florida Southern had a score of 284 (+4), with John VanDerLaan shooting a three-under-par 67, and Michael VanDerLaan shooting a one-over-par 71. The Moccasins also got a pair of 73s from Christian Anderson and Chase Ibbotson, while John Coultas had a 76.
South Carolina-Aiken was the only team to break par in the first round with a 279 (-1), which put the Pacers four shots ahead of Barry and Lander, and five in front of Florida Southern. Nova Southeastern was nine shots back of the Pacers at that point, and top-ranked West Florida was six shots behind.
All five of the Pacers shot 72 or better and they were the only team to have two golfers at even-par or better in the opening round. Neither of those was the first-round leader though, as Lander's Jon Parker fired a five-under-par 65 that was one stroke better than Johnson Holliday from USC-Aiken, and two better than what John VanDerLaan had for the Moccasins halfway through the day.
In the second round, the Pacers again broke par with a score that was one shot better than their morning round, but this time they had company at two-under-par 278. Barry, Lynn, and Rollins also had 278s, and it that was enough to keep the Buccaneers within four shots of the lead, but the other two were still well behind the top teams in the tournament. Holliday had a 70, and teammate Axel Ostensson had a 65, but neither of them of them could quite keep pace with John VanDerLaan, who had an afternoon 66. That made the Moccasin senior one of only two golfers in the field to shoot in the 60s for both rounds, with Morgan Egloff of Rollins the other (69 and 68).
The second-round 66 allowed VanDerLaan to move into the lead at the end of the day with a total score of seven-under-par 133. He holds a three-stroke lead over Holliday, and a four-stroke lead over Ostensson and Egloff. Parker, who slipped from a 65 to a 73 in round two, is tied for fifth place with Lynn's Manuel Torres at two-under-par 138.
With his back-to-back rounds of 71, Michael VanDerLaan is tied for 15th place in the field of 78 golfers with 142 (+2). Anderson matched him with a 71 in the afternoon too, and that moved him up 10 spots into a tie for 23rd with an overall score of 144 (+4). Ibbotson knocked on stroke off his score in the afternoon to shoot a 72, putting him in a tie for 33rd place with a 145 (+5). That also meant the Moccasins did not count Coultas' score for the second time Monday, with the senior shooting a 73 to put his total at 149 (+9).
Florida Southern's second-round score of even-par 280 moved the team up one spot into third place as USC-Aiken and Barry held on to first and second, and Lander dropped from third to a seventh-place tie with Rollins and host Georgia College.
The final round of the Bobcat Invitational is Tuesday with a shotgun start at 9 a.m.