SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Florida won its fifth national championship in program history by defeating Georgia Tech 3-1 on Wednesday at the 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club (7,289 yards/par 70).
Florida last won the title in 2001, and this was the program’s first time advancing to match play. The Gators became the fifth team to win the championship in their first appearance in match play, which began in 2009.
“When I got this job, it was a huge responsibility to all of our great alumni, so many people, Buddy Alexander, who poured so much into making this place great, and that was a big responsibility for me,” Florida Head Coach J.C. Deacon said. “For us to be able to give back and contribute to the great athletic program that we fully built, it’s just incredible. I’m so pumped!”
Fred Biondi scored the championship point by defeating Hiroshi Tai 1-up in a match that was within one the entire round. Biondi took the 1-up lead by winning No. 17 and then left his birdie putt on No. 18 within inches to clinch the victory.
⛳️ HOW IT HAPPENED: Updates from the 2023 championship
Biondi won the individual championship earlier in the week, and he became the first player to win both the team and individual crowns in the same year since Aaron Wise of Oregon in 2016.
“It means more than anything individually,” Biondi shared. “Bringing this home for not just us but for the whole Gator Nation. It means way more. I promised coach when I first got to school, I would work as hard as I could and try to bring a ring or two, and we did it. It’s not just me. It’s every single person here, everyone on the staff, everybody.”
Yuxin Lin tallied the first point of the afternoon for Florida with a 4&3 win over Christo Lamprecht in the leadoff match. Lamprecht was 1-up after No. 2 before Lin won five of the next six holes to sit 4-up through No. 8. That lead was down to 2-up after No. 12, but Lin closed out the match with wins on No. 14 and No. 15.
John DuBois put the Gators on the brink of a championship by defeating Connor Howe 1-up. DuBois held the lead throughout the front nine before Howe won No. 11 and 13 to take his first lead of the match. DuBois responded to win No. 15 to pull even and then clinch the point with a win on No. 18.
Deacon added, “We’ve always had the talent, but these guys just had to grow up, and they’ve committed to that in the last three years. We took a step last year and got a little better, and then they made the ultimate sacrifice to work harder than any team in the country and grow up.”
The second match on the course provided the best finish of the day as Bartley Forrester defeated Matthew Kress in 20 holes. Forrester led most of the match and went 2-up on No. 16 when his tee shot bounced off the flag and ended two feet from the cup. Kress won the final two holes — including putting his second shot on No. 18 within one foot — to force the match into extra holes.
After each player made par in the first extra hole, Forrester clinched the point for Georgia Tech by making par on the 20th hole. The win completed a 3-0 week in match play for Forrester.
Georgia Tech finished as the runner-up for the fifth time in program history.
“They’re like your kids, they come and go, but at the end of the day, they are always a part of what you're doing,” Georgia Tech Head Coach Bruce Heppler shared about his team. “They love each other and work from six in the morning to 10 o’clock every night like everyone else. Just a little bit short, but there’s not another group of student-athletes in college, and I know that for sure.”