Florida set itself in troublesome positions the entire season, none more critical than its profound opening against Florida State in the public elimination rounds.
When things got tight Wednesday in the championship match, the experienced Gators were able to consistently dig themselves out.
With a par on the 18th hole, individual NCAA champion Fred Biondi defeated Hiroshi Tai to claim its fifth men’s national golf title, defeating Georgia Tech 3-1 at Grayhawk Golf Club.
“These guys are extremely tough and that’s what champions are,” Florida coach J.C. Deacon said. “They find a way to stay positive and to stay in the moment and keep doing the right things.”
On Tuesday, Florida appeared to be losing to Florida State in the semifinals, but it rallied to win 3-2.
Florida’s Yuxin Lin come out on top for the title opener 4 and 3 over Christo Lamprecht, yet the excess matches went down to the last possible second in the most grounded breeze of the week.
Florida took a 2-0 lead after Connor Howe was defeated by John DuBois. Georgia Tech’s Bartley Forrester then, at that point, beat Matthew Kress on the subsequent additional opening in the wake of exploding a 2 lead with two openings left.
After Biondi birdied the par-4 17th, Tai’s second shot from the left rough on 18 missed the greenside bunker, giving Tai a one-up lead. He hit it about 10 feet, but Biondi two-putted from 35 feet to become the first player since Oregon’s Aaron Wise in 2016 to win both the individual and team championships in the same season.
“This means way more,” Biondi said. “I promised you when I first got to school that I would work as hard as I could and try to bring a ring or two, and we did it.”
When Biondi won the Gators their first national title since 2001, Florida’s Ricky Castillo was leading Ross Steelman 1 up on 18. As a result of Georgia Tech’s unsuccessful attempt to win its first national championship, the team finished fifth overall and first in match play.
“There’s not a better group of student-athletes in college, I know that for sure,” Georgia Tech coach Bruce Heppler said. “They did a lot of good stuff and will keep coming back again.”
DuBois won the match on 18 with a par after Howe hit his second shot far left of the green and pitched off the green, losing an early 2-up lead.
Forrester had all the earmarks of being in charge of his match, going 2 up after his tee shot on 16 hit the flagstick and dropped to 2 feet for a yielded birdie. After Forrester three-putted from 25 feet on the 17th hole to keep Kress alive, he hit it to a foot on the long par-4 18th to send the match to extra holes.
after the pars on No. match 10 Kress was forced to drop after hitting his tee shot on 18 left into the desert. Forrester prevailed with a two-putt bogey after he made double bogey.
Lin exploited Lamprecht’s wild drives and made the turn 4 up after a birdie on No. 8. Lin cut Lamprecht’s lead to two after making a couple of bogeys, but after hitting his tee shot into the left rough, Lin made a birdie putt to win the 14th.
Lin finished it off by getting all over for standard from a difficult situation right of the fifteenth green after Lamprecht’s three-putt intruder.
Steelman had a rough start, but he overcame a two-down deficit with pars on the Nos. 9 and 11. With a birdie on No. 1, he then gained the match’s first lead. 12.
The fiery senior missed the hole with his putt on the 15th, and he kicked his ball into the desert instead. He tied the score on hole 16 when Steelman bogeyed the par-3 he hit well short of.
Steelman hit his tee shot way directly into the desert on No. 17 and ended up falling on the 14th tee, resulting in a bogey that put Castillo 1 ahead of them before the championship was decided.
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