Fred Biondi shot 3 for 67 and rallied from a last-round five-shot deficit to clinch his third individual NCAA men’s golf championship in Florida on Monday.
Biondi shot 2-under 35 on the top nine at Grayhawk Golf Club and was three back from a bogey in 12th. Senior from Brazil birdied par 4 out of 14. No. 18 to finish at 7 under.
Biondi joins Bob Murphy (1996) and Nick Gilliam (2001) as National Champions in Florida.
Jackson Buchanan of Illinois just missed a 20-foot birdie at number 18 that would tie him with Biondi. He shot 67 to tie Georgia Tech’s Ross Steelman at 6 under.
Steelman had a three-shot lead on 15 holes but closed three straight bogeys, opening the door for Biondi. Steelman shot 73 to finish 6 under.
North Carolina took first place in the match play, with top-ranked Vanderbilt fighting back, losing the match play by nine shots.
Steelman had over 6 points from his first six holes at Grayhawk a year ago and had three birdies in four innings, finishing 76th.
Knowing what to expect, Steelman conquered Grayhawk’s Raptor Course in the first round of the year, throwing six birdies on a 64 no bogey and leading in the first round. He went 68–69 over the next two days, taking the lead with four shots in the final round.
Steelman saw his night lead halved with a double bogey on par 4 sixth, but then with birdies at number 8 and 11 to take the lead with three shots at 9 under.
Then it dissolved.
Steelman made three edge putts on par 3-16 and made another boge in 17th when his tee shot stuck in a divot and he couldn’t get up and down the bunker on the green side.
This saw him tied with Biondi at 7 under.
After a long wait for the 18th tee. Steelman crushed the ride on a converted par 5 but nearly put his second shot into the water to the right of the green. He left his chip shot about 10 feet away and missed a putt, losing one to Biondi.
Biondi remained stable while Steelman hesitated. He made two par-putts on numbers 16 and 17, then hit a powerful strike on a 520-yard par-4 18th. He watched his approach shot bounce hard to the left side of the green and made a par putt from 4 feet to win the title.