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Monday, March 04, 2024
<p>Redshirt sophomore Fred Biondi stares down a hole while practicing at Mark Bostick Golf Course. Biondi led the Gators at Vanderbilt, finishing 15th individually.</p>

Redshirt sophomore Fred Biondi stares down a hole while practicing at Mark Bostick Golf Course. Biondi led the Gators at Vanderbilt, finishing 15th individually.

On the 17th hole, Florida Gators senior golfer Fred Biondi was tied with a chance to give UF its fifth national title in program history. Biondi, slightly further from the hole than his opponent, had two strokes to bring home the title for his team. 

He sunk the final putt to bring the Gators to the summit. 

Not only did the Florida men’s golf team take home first place in the 2023 NCAA National Championship, but Biondi won the individual national championship as well.

The title marks J.C. Deacon's first national championship as head coach of the Florida men’s golf team since he took the job in 2014.

“I’m very, very proud to be coming back to Gainesville as national champions,” Deacon said. 

UF traveled to Scottsdale, Arizona, where it defeated the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the final round May 31, winning 3-1 in match play. 

Deacon explained his player’s dedication to the sport paid off.

“We’ve been a good team for a few years,” Deacon said. “The last two months we became great.”

Biondi walked onto the course five strokes back from the lead on May 29. However, he stayed patient and came back to win the individual title. The momentum continued through May 31 when he led his team to victory.

The senior locked in the winning point for Florida during match four between Biondi and his opponent, Georgia Tech freshman Hiroshi Tai. 

“It’s a really hard course and the scores are always pretty high there,” Biondi said. “By the end of the tournament, I kind of figured out how to play the course better than last year when we were there.” 

Biondi remained consistent. 

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“If you remain calm and patient, things will work out your way,” Biondi said.  

Biondi demonstrated patience during his freshman year. Despite not competing, he worked hard and appeared in the lineup three times the following year. 

It wasn’t until Biondi’s junior year he started to put his name out there. Biondi appeared in the Gators’ lineup a career-high 10 times and was the top performer in the lineup six times throughout the 2021-2022 season. 

The senior won two tournaments in the spring including the first win of his career at the VyStar Credit Union Gators Invitational. He tied the tournament record at 14-under-par 210 and finished ranked No. 1 in the Golfstat Cup standings his junior season. 

In Biondi's senior year, he raised the bar. The Brazilian is the first South American-born player and third Gator ever to win the NCAA national championship individual title. In addition, he is the first player to shoot under par in all four rounds in the last three tournaments held at Grayhawk Golf Course.

Deacon has coached Biondi since 2019 when he enrolled early in the Spring as a freshman. Four years later, Deacon watched the senior lead his group to a national title.  

"I promised J.C. when I first got to school that I would work as hard as I could to try and bring him a ring or two," Biondi said. "And we did it."

Contact Madilyn Destefano at mdestefano@alligtor.org. Follow her on Twitter @DestefanoMadi.

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