After narrowly prevailing in the semifinals against cross-state rivals Florida State, Florida closed out Georgia Tech, 3-1, in the championship match of the 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship. Although it wasn’t the same comeback storyline compared to the semifinals, there was still plenty of drama.
The Gators took the first chomp when Yuxin Lin posted his 4 and 3 win. As the second match continued to extra holes, Florida’s John DuBois topped Georgia Tech’s Connor Howe, 1 up, to move the Gators to a 2-0 lead. Shortly after, the overtime match — eventually won by Georgia Tech’s Bartley Forrester — put the first point on the board for the Yellow Jackets.
Sitting at 2-1 in favor of the Gators, with both of the remaining matches at 1 up in Florida’s favor, players backed up at the final tee box as the competitors ahead sorted out a wayward ball in the desert.
At 1 up in his match, with the team championship on the line, the individual champion, Fred Biondi, blasted a drive down the right side of the fairway. His competitor, Georgia Tech’s Hiroshi Tai, carried the fairway bunker on the left, but on his second shot found a plugged lie in a greenside bunker, giving Biondi the advantage. After Tai slashed it out, Biondi swept his ball close to the hole, and the championship was Florida’s.
“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.”
If Biondi hadn’t captured the final point, it’s likely senior Ricky Castillo, 1 up in his match too, would have sealed the deal for Florida.
“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.”