Photo courtesy of @GatorsGolf via Twitter.

Fred Biondi Crowned 2023 NCAA Individual National Champion

It was a historic day for Florida Gators men’s golf as Fred Biondi became the third Gator of all-time to claim the individual title. The Orange & Blue kept writing in the history books as the Gators advanced to the match play for the first time in program history.

Biondi Makes History

Biondi became the third Gator to win the individual title, adding his name alongside Nick Gilliam (2001) and Bobby Murphy (1966). Gilliam was the last Gator to win the title in 2001, the same year Florida won the team championship. Additionally, Biondi is the first Latin American Champion (Brazilian) and first international player since Illinois’ Thomas Pieters to be crowned the individual title. He is also the first player to shoot under par in all four rounds at the last three Championships at Grayhawk.

Five Shot Rally

Biondi was able to make a comeback from five shots down after starting the day five back from Georgia Tech’s Ross Steelman. The Gators senior began the day with a birdie on two and then shot two more in his next four holes. With a birdie on six, Biondi had brought the deficit to just one shot. Then, after a double bogey seven, Biondi shot consecutive birdies on 9 and 10.

Biondi would then bounce back from a bogey on 12 by knocking in his 15th birdie of the weekend on 14. He was now just one shot shy of Steelman. He was able to take control after Steelman made bogey on 17. Illinois’ Jackson Buchanan closed in on Biondi, bringing it to one shot after a birdie on 17. Biondi made par on 17, while Buchanan attempted a birdie to tie on 18. However, Buchanan missed and made par. Biondi then made a two-putt par on 18 and was crowned the 2023 NCAA individual champion title.

Biondi Earns The Crown

“We were right in-between numbers, between a nine and eight, and I like holding a lot of shots, especially right to left was helping a lot with the wind and I just wanted to hold something and we wanted to take the water out of play,” Biondi told reporters of his mindset going into his second shot on hole 18. “It was a little bit on the downslope, and we didn’t want to come out a little thin and short. We took the eight, and knew there was a big chance the ball would be on the back of the green, so let’s hit a solid shot here and then figure it out with the putter.”

“I just stayed really patient,” Biondi told reporters when asked about his ability to bounce back. “That was the whole key today and something that I told JC this morning in the car. No matter what happened, if I was hitting good shots, bad shots, good putts, bad putts, I was going to keep the same attitude and demeanor out there. I just put my head down and tried the best I could and put the best swings I could and the best strokes I could.”

Additionally, Biondi was also named the 2023 Arnold Palmer National Individual Champion.

Up Next

As a team, the Gators finished stroke play T2 with a score of 1,118 (-2), marking its all-time lowest at Grayhawk. The score is also Florida’s first under par team score at the NCAAs since 2006 and the lowest round score at the Championships in program history.

For the first time in program history, the No. 2 Gators reach match play and will take on No. 7 Virginia in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. If Florida advances, the Gators would next take on the winner of Illinois and Florida State Tuesday afternoon in the semifinals with the finals set for Wednesday at 4:35 p.m.

About Ellie Shreve

Ellie is a third-year sports and media journalism major at the University of Florida.

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