There was a lot on the line at this year’s Augusta Haskins Award Invitational, including a spot in a PGA Tour event.
Florida’s Fred Biondi used rounds of 66-70-65 to finish at 15 under on the par-72, 7,086-yard Forest Hills Country Club in Augusta, Georgia, layout to claim the individual title and the exemptions. Biondi finished two shots over Adrien Dumont de Chassart of Illinois.
With the victory, Biondi will play in PGA Tour’s 3M Open this summer in Minnesota.
Biondi is part of a senior threesome at Florida that could be as good as any trio in college golf, and according to Florida head coach J.C. Deacon, when those three are on top of their game, you see what the Gators can do.
“Three seniors, three All-Americans playing their best golf and competing for individual title and that ends up in us winning by 12 shots,” said Deacon.
Biondi’s senior teammates Ricky Castillo finished 5th and Yuxin Lin placed 6th.
“I know how talented our team is,” said Deacon. “I have been doing this a long time and I know what a great team looks like, but we haven’t played like it all year.”
The Gators had won three times entering the week, winning the Fighting Irish Classic last fall and the Sea Best Invitational and Vystar CU Gators Invitational this spring.
With the timing of win No. 4 here at Forest Hills, it might have a little more significance for the Gators.
“We need to prove to ourselves that we could be one of the best teams in the country and I think 39-under and beating an Illinois team head-to-head does that,” said Deacon.
Another team with something on the line this weekend was Central Florida.
The Golden Knights, playing in their last event before the American Athletic Conference Championship, entered the event ranked No. 77 in Golfstat and No. 80 by Golfweek/Sagarin. UCF is trying to work its way into the mix for a NCAA regional bid.
The ranking number is projected to be in the low 70s and a good performance this week could help UCF get closer to that mark.
“I have been really up front with them about where we stand,” said UCF head coach Bryce Wallor. “We have made big-numbered mistakes all year long. I have been telling them if they can stop making more than bogey you can play with any team in the country.”
UCF would finish the week in seventh place.
“I promised them that they hit the ball well enough, putt the ball well enough and their course management is good enough, but in certain situations being a little aggressive as hurt us,” said Wallor.
This week, as a team UCF had just one hole with worse than a bogey. “I told them this is the week we have to go. We can improve our ranking this week and improve it next week at conference,” said Wallor. “I am so proud of them.”
There is hope for the Golden Knights that the number could go higher depending on the .500 Rule that can keep a team out if they have less than a 50 percent head-to-head winning percentage and with upsets in conference championship play that take an at-large bid away from the field.