Florida Gators men’s golf wins fifth national championship, first since 2001, over Georgia Tech

By OnlyGators.com Staff
May 31, 2023
Florida Gators men’s golf wins fifth national championship, first since 2001, over Georgia Tech

Image Credit: Ashley Ray, UAA

An incredible season for No. 2 Florida Gators men’s golf concluded Wednesday with the fifth national championship in program history. Head coach J.C. Deacon’s squad never trailed but was still forced to rally on its way to earning a 3-1 victory over the No. 5 Georgia Tech Green Jackets to win the 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship and clinch the Gators’ first national title since 2001.

In its 56th NCAA Tournament appearance, Florida won its second crown in the last 30 years (1968, 1973, 1993, 2001) and first in the match play era of the championship. It also handed Georgia Tech its fifth runner-up finish with the Atlanta-based program still never winning a national title itself.

“We’ve always had the talent, but these guys just had to grow up,” Deacon said after the victory. “They’ve committed to doing that the last three years, took a step last year and got a little bit better. And then they made the ultimate sacrifice to work harder than any team in the country and grow up.”

He added: “I am proud to be their coach. Holy smokes.”

Senior Fred Biondi, who on Monday captured the 2023 NCAA Individual Championship, appropriately clinched the team national title winning 1 UP after breaking a tie on the 17th hole.

The first point was relative quick work for senior Yuxin Lin, who clinched it 4&3 and had plenty time to watch his teammates rally behind him. Despite getting on the scoreboard first, the Gators trailed the Yellow Jackets 0-3-1 in ongoing matches, making their title win far from a certainty with plenty of golf left to play as the teams rounded the turn to the back nine.

John DuBois was next on the board with the senior rallying to tie his match on the 15th and pick up the victory on the final hole of regulation. Unfortunately, Florida soon gave one back. Redshirt freshman Matthew Kress, who rallied from two strokes down to force extra holes by winning the 17th and 18th, fell in the 20th hole with the Gators still holding a 2-1 lead.

Only moments later, Biondi dropped the national title-winning putt as senior Ricky Castillo also held a 1 UP lead thru 17 holes at the time the championship was clinched.

“When I got this job, it was a huge responsibility to all of our great alumni and so many people,” Deacon said. “… It was a big responsibility for me and for us to give back and contribute to the great athletic program that Jeremy Foley built and Scott [Stricklin]’s continuing now. It’s so incredible. I’m just so pumped.”

The Gators have now won 46 team national championship as an athletic program, including 25 since the 2008-09 season.

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