Latin America Amateur

Biondi ready to contend again at LAAC

The R&A
11 Jan 23
3 mins

As the highest ranked player in the 2023 Latin America Amateur Championship field, Biondi is a clear candidate to lift the trophy at Grand Reserve Golf Club in Puerto Rico this Sunday.

As the highest ranked player —18th in the current World Amateur Golf Ranking — in the 2023 Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC) field and one of four runners-up in the previous edition in Dominican Republic, Brazilian Fred Biondi is a clear candidate to lift the trophy at Grand Reserve Golf Club in Puerto Rico this Sunday. “It was a lot of fun to have so many people supporting me till the end. It was very important for me maturity wise and it kind of opened my eyes to something bigger,” said 22-year-old Biondi about his experience in 2022 and this new chance to collect the rewards associated with a victory at the LAAC.

Major opportunities

One year after his runner-up finish at Casa de Campo, Biondi aspires to follow the example of Mexican Alvaro Ortiz and Chilean Joaquin Niemann, winners in 2019 and 2018, respectively, after finishing second in the previous edition. Like Ortiz and Niemann, Biondi could receive the invitation to the Masters Tournament and The 151st Open for the LAAC champion. “It is funny, because the first day I teed it off at the LAAC in January of 2022 I was ranked about 300th in the world rankings, and six months later I was inside the top 20,” said Biondi, who earned his first collegiate win one month after and his second in April. Two months later, he became the first reigning LAAC champion or runner-up to qualify for the U.S. Open. “It was awesome playing against the guys that I grew up watching on TV or playing video games with. It was just a great experience,” remembered Biondi about his first major appearance and U.S. Open at the Country Club, where he played practice rounds with fellow Florida Gator Billy Horschel. “He has matured a lot on his understanding of how to practice and what makes him great,” said J.C. Deacon, Biondi’s coach at University of Florida and a declared admirer of his “beautiful, really simple golf swing” and his “wonderful character.”
The site of the eighth Latin America Amateur Championship is the Grand Reserve Golf Club in Puerto Rico.

Key is consistency

Deacon has enjoyed watching the evolution of the young Brazilian golfer over his four years with the Gators, where his teammates include two-time Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion Yuxin Lin. “Fred’s round of 67 at the NCAA national championship with some of the hardest conditions is one of the best rounds I have seen in my 35 years in golf,” said Deacon. “My game has been pretty solid, but the main things for me are to keep it more consistent, get control of the emotional and physical part, and have a better understanding of the short game,” said Biondi, going through the aspects of the game he has been working on to prepare for his fifth LAAC.

Managing expectations for Biondi

According to Coach Deacon, a big factor for Fred will be managing the expectations: “He has become one of the best players in South America and there are expectations for himself and everyone else around him. It is a new natural thing for him to deal with, but off the course he’s just always smiling and grateful for everything”. To his credit, Biondi has recognized and analyzed the challenge of expectations and how they have affected him in the past: “There are two scales, expectations, and confidence, and if there is any gap between them, then you face worry and doubt. I think that’s the worst thing that could possibly happen”.  Biondi’s solution is to “try to be a great person off the course and the best golfer I can on the course,” confident that he has a real chance to win the 2023 Latin America Amateur Championship and become the first Brazilian to compete at the Masters in almost half a century. Follow LAAC live here.