SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Georgia Tech golf finished NCAA Championship runner-up after battling No. 2-seeded Florida in the national championship match Wednesday afternoon, falling 3-1, at the Grayhawk Golf Club.
Florida won the first pairing of the match (Yuxin Lin d. Christo Lamprecht, 4&3), before the Yellow Jackets gained momentum, taking the lead on the four remaining matches. But the Gators grounded it out down the stretch to pull away. Connor Howe battled, but fell to John DuBois, 1-up, to give the Gators a 2-0 match lead.
Bartley Forrester put Georgia Tech on the scoreboard, grinding out a win over Matthew Kress in 20 holes. Forrester had a chance to put it away, needing a birdie on 17, but couldn’t finish it out as Kress forced extra holes. On the 20th hole, Kress overshot the fairway, setting Forrester up to seal the win.
No. 5-seeded Georgia Tech would need the final two matches to rally for the national championship, but came up just short of the first title in program history. The 2023 NCAA individual champion, Fred Biondi closed out the victory for the Gators, defeating Hiroshi Tai, 1-up.
Georgia Tech’s Head Coach Bruce Heppler:
On the turning point in the match:
“I think it kind of flipped on 17 and 18. It took matches to the pipe all the way to the end and they [Florida] made some birdies on 17 and we didn’t, and that was really the difference. Great team. Salute to them, they played well. We were just a little short again.”
On this team and their impact on the Georgia Tech golf program:
“They’re like your kids. They come and go, but they are always part of what you’re doing. I’ve heard some of the comments and it’s nice to be liked. But their commitment, this group here, was as good as any as we’ve ever had and they love each other. They work from 6 o’clock in the morning to 10 o’clock every night for nine months and were just a little bit short. There is not a better group of student-athletes in college and I know that for sure. They did a lot of good stuff and we’ll just keep coming back again.”