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The Daily Tar Heel

No. 4 UNC men's golf falls, 3-1, to Florida State in NCAA tournament quarterfinals

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UNC fifth-year senior Dylan Menante on the eighteenth hole green of Omni La Costa's North Course during the final day of strokeplay of the NCAA championship on Monday, May 28, 2024. UNC tied for the third.

CARLSBAD, Calif. — In a tense, back-and-forth match, the No. 4 UNC men’s golf team faded late and fell to No. 6 Florida State, 3-1, in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship Tuesday morning at Omni La Costa Resort’s North Course.

The Tar Heels won seven team titles this season, including their first ACC title since 2006. UNC defeated Florida State in match play in the East Lake Cup finals and the ACC Championship finals

But the quest for a first national title in program history will have to wait. 

“You wish this wasn’t the case — I just think that they were the better team today,” head coach Andrew DiBitetto said. “Our guys played well, but Florida State was outstanding.”

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UNC senior Peter Fountain speaks with head coach Andrew DiBitetto on the eighteenth hole of Omni La Costa's North Course during the final day of strokeplay of the NCAA championship on Monday, May 28, 2024. UNC tied for third.

UNC became only the third school to reach match play in four consecutive seasons under the current championship format, posting 11-over-par after 72 holes of stroke play and finishing in a tie for third. 

The Tar Heels failed to record an under-par round over the first three days on the ultra-challenging North Course. But in the final round, UNC posted a 4-under 284, tying the best round of the day, to comfortably make the cut by 15 shots.

Fifth-year Dylan Menante, playing in his home town on his home course, carded the Tar Heels’ low individual round in stroke play, a 3-under 69. He started red hot, birdieing the first hole and sticking his second shot at the par-5 second hole for a tap-in eagle.

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UNC fifth-year senior Dylan Menante tees off at the tenth hole of Omni La Costa's North Course during the final day of strokeplay of the NCAA championship on Monday, May 28, 2024. UNC tied for the third.

“You just gotta give it your all, gotta lock in every shot because there are no shots you can blink at and cruise,” Menante said after his round Monday. “Every shot’s challenging, so try to keep it really simple was our idea this week, and I think we did a really good job.”

Beginning on the back nine, North Carolina got off to a great start Tuesday in match play against the Seminoles, leading in four of the five matches at one point early. Graduate Austin Greaser won three holes in a row over Luke Clanton to go three up after four holes.

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UNC graduate student Austin Greaser on the eighteenth hole green of the Omni La Costa Resort’s North Course after finishing his round during the final day of strokeplay of the NCAA championship on Monday, May 28, 2024. UNC tied for the third.

Around the turn, the script flipped. Florida State led in four of the five matches. Junior David Ford, senior Peter Fountain and Menante all led by one after five holes of their respective matches but then saw their leads disappear. 

Then the momentum swung back in the Tar Heels’ favor. Menante got his lead back, winning the third and fourth holes with birdies, and Fountain went one up after 12. UNC led in three matches. 

Menante hung on for a 2-and-1 victory over Cole Anderson to put the first point on the board. It was the only point the Tar Heels would win.

Fountain lost the fourth, sixth and seventh holes and lost his match against Brett Roberts 2 and 1. Greaser could not hold on to his three-up advantage over Clanton, losing four holes in a row to lose the match 2 and 1. 

David Ford then needed to win his match to keep North Carolina’s hopes alive. He lost the sixth and seventh holes, losing 3 and 2 to Tyler Weaver. Junior Maxwell Ford had come back from three down to take a one-up lead, but his match went unfinished.

“It was their day to win, and that’s how it goes sometimes,” David Ford said. “I have full confidence in the team this year and next year. Even though we didn’t win this year, I wouldn’t change anything we did. And I think we can hang our hats on we did everything we can, it just didn’t work out.”

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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