Florida Southern, the 2017 NCAA Division II Champions
(Florida Southern photo)
KISSIMMEE, FL (May 25, 2017) -- It all came down to the final match to decide the NCAA Division II Championship, and in the end John Coultas came up big for Florida Southern University, delivering their first national championship in seven years.
In the first match of the final, senior Martin Cancino of Lynn faced off against freshman Chase Ibbotson of Florida Southern. It was the freshman who showed the nerves early as Ibbotson tripled the first hole, setting him three strokes behind.
Ibbotson was able to climb back into the match and was down only one stroke through the tenth hole. But on number eleven Ibbotson bogeyed while Cancino birdied, giving the senior a three-stroke lead with six to play. Ibbotson had a chance on the final hole to tie the match but couldn't convert and the Lynn took the first point.
In the second match, sophomore Christian Anderson of Florida Southern faced off senior Mateo Gomez. In a tightly contested affair, neither player ever led by more than two strokes and the pair were tied with four holes to play.
Anderson took a one-stroke lead on the fifteenth, but Gomez came back to tie it and that's where they stood going into the final hole. Poor putting cost Gomez at the last, taking a five while Anderson took a four, giving Anderson and Florida Southern the point. After two matches the two schools were tied.
In the third match, the older of Florida Southern's VanDerLaan brothers, John, faced off against freshman Felix Kvarnstrom. In another tightly contested affair VanDerLaan never led by more than two strokes, and with five to play the junior held a one-stroke lead. Kvarnstrom had an opportunity to tie the match on the final hole but fell short and VanDerLaan took the two-stroke victory.
In the penultimate match, the younger VanDerLaan brother, Michael, got off to an early lead against freshman Toto Gana of Lynn but the sophomore could not hold it. After leading holes two through five, VanDerLaan backed up and Gana took the lead that he held through the thirteenth. VanDerLaan was unable to make up any ground from there as Gana held his ground and Lynn took another two-stroke victory.
So at 2-2 it all came down to the final match for the championship. And it was junior John Coultas of Florida Southern who stepped up against junior Manuel Torres of Lynn. Coultas took control of the match by winning three straight holes starting at number nine, and never looked back as he shot a team-low 69 and a three-shot win that ultimately gave Florida Southern the title.
This was Florida Southern's thirteenth championship overall, but its first since 2010 and its first in the match play format.
For Lynn University, this was its fourth runner-up finish in the last seven years. They have yet to win the title.
ABOUT THE NCAA Division II Championship
The National Championship of championship of
men's college golf teams. From its inception through
2010, it was a 72-hole stroke play team
with an additional award for the lowest scoring
individual competitor. The team format changed
starting in 2011 to 54 holes of stroke play followed
by an eight-team single elimination medal match
play competition. The 54-hole individual leader is
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