SEASIDE, CALIF. – Freshman Johnny Tucker shot a one-under-par 71 that was Florida Southern's best round of the day, and along with a pair of 72s and a pair of 73s, it moved the 6th-ranked Moccasins up three spots in the final round for a fifth-place finish at the Otter Invitational.
Playing in California for the first time in 10 years, the Moccasins were not lacking for consistency when it came to their team scores in each round. They followed scores of 293 and 295 on Monday with a 294 on Tuesday that pushed them ahead of three other teams. With a three-round total of 882 (+18), the Moccasins finished behind No. 2 Lynn, No. 1 Barry, No. 4 West Florida, and No. 11 Chico State. They were ahead of seven other schools from the West Region that were among those receiving votes in the most recent national poll.
Lynn won the tournament by eight shots over Barry and the Knights were the only team to break par at three-under. The Knights were one shot behind the Bucs at the start of play Tuesday but out-shot them 288-297 for the win. West Florida was nine shots behind Lynn and one behind Barry in third.
Tucker's 71 included four birdies, while Chase Ibbotson had three on his way to one of the 72s. Michael VanDerLaan had the other and overcame a slow start by playing the second half of his round at even-par. Along with Tucker's even-par final-nine finish, they were instrumental scores in getting Florida Southern two shots ahead of Cal State East Bay in the standings after the Mocs had trailed the Pioneers by two shots going into the day.
West Florida's Christian Bosso was the individual champion with a seven-under-par 209 (70-73-66), putting him four strokes ahead of Lynn's Felix Kvarnstrom who was at three-under-par 213 (73-70-70). Barry's Jorge Garcia and Lynn's Carlos Bustos tied for third with scores of two-under-par 214, and Lynn's Tomas Gana was fifth at one-under-par 215.
The Moccasins had VanDerLaan and Anderson finish in a tie for 11th with scores of three-over-par 219. Ibbotson was tied for 34th with a 224, and Tucker and Coutsolioutsos were tied for 39th with scores of 225. Florida Southern was the only team to have all five of its golfers finish in positions as high as they did, separated by only six strokes. Barry's fifth golfer finished in 46th place, but none of the other 15 teams had their fifth golfers finish better than 69th.
The Otter Invitational was Florida Southern's final tournament of the fall. The Moccasins will return to action in February when they host the Matlock Collegiate Classic, February 11-12.