KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – A tournament-record 65 put senior Michael VanDerLaan on top of the standings after one round of the Newberry College Invitational, and two other under-par scores by freshmen Max Coutsolioutsos and Johnny Tucker helped put No. 5 Florida Southern at -10 as a team. By the end of the day, the Moccasins had an 11-stroke lead over Arkansas Tech, and a 67 by VanDerLaan in round two widened his own individual lead to seven strokes.
The Moccasins took charge right away behind VanDerLaan and Coutsolioutsos, who were two of the four golfers to shoot in the 60s in round one. VanDerLaan's seven-under-par 65 included seven birdies and gave him a two-shot lead over Valter Andersson of Young Harris at that point. It was the best individual round shot by a Moccasin this season, the best of VanDerLaan's career, and it tied the Newberry College Invitational record set by Newberry's Spencer Skiff two years ago. Coutsolioutsos birdied six holes on his way to a four-under-par 68 that put him in third place, with Lindenwood's Yente Van Doren right behind him with a 69.
Tucker shot a 71 in his first tournament of the spring as one of several golfers who were tied for 11th. Senior Christian Anderson and junior Chase Ibbotson each had scores of 74 to tie for 28th, giving Florida Southern a 278 (-10) as a team. It was the second time this season the Mocs had a score of -10 or better following a -11 in the final round of the Cougar Invitational in September.
No other team had a fifth golfer shoot better than 75, and only Columbus State did even that. The Cougars, however, had four golfers shoot exactly 75, and their team leader shoot a 70, leaving them tied for sixth.
Arkansas Tech, which just dropped out of the national rankings last week though still receiving votes, matched Florida Southern with its top three golfers under par in round one. However, the Wonder Boys' trio had scores of 70, 71, and 71 where they lost eight strokes in the process. They made up a little ground with a 72 from their fourth counter but were still six shots behind the Moccasins with a 284 (-4). The gap between second and third was even wider with No. 14 Young Harris and Missouri-St. Louis shooting a 291 (+3).
In round two, the Moccasins got a 67 and six more birdies from VanDerLaan, though the rest of their counting scores were 74s from Coutsolioutsos and Tucker, and a 75 from Ibbotson. Anderson was their fifth golfer with a 76.
The 67 allowed VanDerLaan to open up a seven-shot lead after Andersson from Young Harris shot a 73 and fell to third at four-under-par 140. Replacing Andersson in the second position was Newberry's Adrian Villiger, who had rounds of 70 and 69 to close the day at five-under par 139, with VanDerLaan at 12-under-par 132. Villiger and Andersson were the only golfers within eight shots of him.
Coutsolioutsos, who was tied for fourth in the tournament with nine birdies overall, was also under-par through two rounds at 142 (-2) and was tied for fifth. Tucker just missed par at 145 (+1) and was tied for 12th. Ibbotson was tied for 36th at 149 (+5), and Anderson was tied for 44th at 150 (+6).
Florida Southern's second-round team score of 290, while 12 shots off its morning round, was still topped by only two other teams and allowed the Mocs to nearly double their lead over Arkansas Tech, which had a 295. It put the Moccasins at -8 for the day, and the Wonder Boys at +3. Lynn, which is coming off its victory in the Matlock Classic last week, rebounded from an opening-round 297 with the best score of round two at 287, putting the 2nd-ranked Knights in third place at +8, still 16 shots behind the Moccasins.
The only other Sunshine State Conference school in the tournament is No. 4 Florida Tech, which is tied for eighth at +14.
The final round of the Newberry College Invitational is Tuesday, with the Moccasins beginning play at 10:10 a.m.