Florida's Biondi is NCAA Medalist; North Carolina Gets No. 1 Seed for Match Play

May 29, 2023 | 6 min.
By Michael R Fermoyle

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Fred Biondi birdied three of the first six holes at Grayhawk Golf Club on Monday in the final round of the NCAA Division I Championships. The Florida senior made a double bogey at the 502-yard, par-4 seventh, but shook that off and birdied the ninth (468 yards, par 4) and 10th holes, then offset a bogey at the 468-yard, par-4 12th with a birdie at the 14th. All of which put him in position to challenge the 54-hole leader, Ross Steelman, for first place, and when Steelman bogeyed the last three holes, Biondi was able to par them. And his clutch par at the long and daunting, 520-yard, par-4 18th capped off a 3-under-par 67 and earned him medalist honor with a 72-hole total of 273 (7 under).

So now Biondi has a choice to make. Does he want to turn professional, use his status in the PGA Tour University Rankings (he's No. 3 as of Monday) and start playing for money on the Korn Ferry Tour in a few weeks? Or does he want to use the special exemption to the 2024 Masters that he will receive as a result of claiming the NCAA title?

But his immediate attention will be on the match-play portion of the NCAA tournament. That begins Tuesday morning, and Biondi's Florida team, which got the No. 2 seed, will play No. 7 Virginia.

Streelman, the Georgia Tech fifth-year senior who tied for 76th at last year's NCAAs, was in position to go wire to wire this year. Having opened with a 64 on Friday and followed it with a 69 and a 68, he led by four as he teed off in Round 4 on Monday. The former Missouri state high school champ bogeyed the par-4 second hole and doubled the sixth, but he birdied the 562-yard, par-5 fourth, the par-3 eighth and the 550-yard, par-5 11th. Consequently, he still led by two shots with three holes to go, but then he forgot how to make a par. He bogeyed the 173-yard, par-3 16th, the 405-yard, par-4 17th and the 18th.

As a result, he had to settle for a 73, a 72-hole aggregate of 274, and finished one behind Biondi, in a second-place tie with Illinois's Jackson Buchanan, who matched Biondi's 67. Buchanan inserted himself into the picture with three birdies on the front nine. A bogey at the 650-yard, par-5 11th was a setback, but he birdied the 17th.

Finishing two behind Biondi, tied for fourth at 275, were Dylan Menante of North Carolina and Stanford's Barclay Brown. Brown closed with a 69, and Menante shot 70, but three of Menante's Tar Heel teammates broke 70, which enabled the North Carolina to post the best team score of the day, a 273, and come from behind to take the No. 1 seed for match play at 1114. Florida and 54-hole team leader Illinois -- the perennial Big Ten champion -- were only four behind, tied for second at 1118. Illinois got the No. 3 seed, and it will play No. 6 Florida State in the quarters.

Pepperdine was fourth at 1120. The Waves were led for the second day in a row by Derek Hitchner. He shot 65 on Sunday and 69 on Monday, which put the 2021 Minnesota State Amateur champ into a tie for 11th individually at 280. As the No. 4 seed, Pepperdine will play No. 5 Georgia Tech on Tuesday morning.

When the fourth round was completed, there was still one order of business left to complete. Arizona State, last year's runner-up to Texas, tied Stanford for the eighth and final spot in match play. In the playoff for the No. 8 seed, the Sun Devils won with a combined score of 1 under par on the second extra hole; so they will play No. 1 North Carolina in the morning.  

NCAA Division I Men's Championships

At Grayhawk Golf Club

Par 70, 7,289 yards

Scottsdale, Ariz. 

Final results -- Stroke Play

1. North Carolina       282-284-275-273--1114

T2. Florida                 283-278-278-279--1118

T2. Illinois                  285-273-276-284--1118

4. Pepperdine           281-287-269-283--1123

T5. Georgia Tech       280-286-276-284--1126
T5. Florida State        284-287-282-273--1126

7. Virginia                   290-281-283-277--1131

8. Arizona State         291-281-279--281--1132 (won two-hole playoff to claim the last spot for match play)

Did not qualify for match play

9. Stanford                 290-286-274-282--1132

10. Auburn                  288-286-282-282--1138

T11. Vanderbilt          282-288-283--853

T11. Alabama            290-282-289-280--1141

13. Texas A&M           289-285-283-287--1144

14. Georgia                285-291-288-285--1149

15. Ohio State            287-295-284-294--1160 

Did not make cut

T25. New Mexico       293-296-291--880 


1. Fred Biondi, Florida                               69-68-69-67--273 (minus 7)

T2. Ross Steelman, Georgia Tech            64-69-68-73--274

T2. Jackson Buchanan, Illinois                 71-68-68-67--274

T4. Dylan Menante, North Carolina          68-70-67-70--275

T4. Barclay Brown, Stanford.                    68-71-67-69--275

6. Ben James, Virginia                              71-68-69-68--276

T7. Tommy Kuhl, Illinois                            72-69-67-71--279

T7. A. Dumont de Chassar, Illiinois           68-68-70-73--279

T7. Brett Roberts, Florida State                69-73-70-67--279

T7. Sam Choi, Pepperdine                      70-72-67-70--279

T11. Derek Hitchner, Pepperdine          73-73-65-69--280

T11. Nick Dunlap, Alabama                      74-68-66-72--280

T11. Luke Gofford, Pepperdine.                70-71-67-72--280

T11. Phichaksn Maichon, Texas A&M.      72-72-68-68--280

T11. Austin Greaser, North Carolina.         71-74-69-66--280

T11. Ricky Castillo, Florida                         71-68-70-71--280

T11. Matthew Anderson, San Francisco     68-71-70-71--280

T29. Ludvig Aberg, Texas Tech                   69-73-69-73--284 (No. 1 in PGA Tour University Rankings)

T40. Gordon Sargent, Vanderbilt                 71-73-73-69--286   (defending champion)

T74. Sam Bennett, Texas A&M                   75-74-71-75--295 (2022 U.S. Amateur, low amateur in 2023 Masters)

Missed cut

T111. Carson Herron, New Mexico   77-74-72--223

Michael R Fermoyle

Mike Fermoyle’s amateur golf career features state titles in five different decades, beginning with the State Public Links (1969), three State Amateurs (1970, 1973 and 1980), and four State Four-Ball championships (1972, 1985, 1993 and 2001). Fermoyle was medalist at the Pine to Palm in 1971, won the Resorters in 1972, made the cut at the State Amateur 18 consecutive years (1969 to 1986), the last being 2000, and amassed 13 top-ten finishes. Fermoyle also made it to the semi-final matches at the MGA’s annual match play championship, the Players’, in 1982 and 1987.

Fermoyle enjoyed a career as a sportswriter at the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch before retiring in 2006. Two years later he began a second career covering the golf beat exclusively for the MGA and its website, mngolf.org, where he ranks individual prep golfers and teams, provides coverage on local amateur and professional tournaments and keeps tabs on how Minnesotans are faring on the various professional tours.

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