Georgia Tech sophomore Hiroshi Tai wins golf national championship

Georgia Tech's Hiroshi Tai finished three under par. AP file photo

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Georgia Tech's Hiroshi Tai finished three under par. AP file photo

Georgia Tech claimed a national championship Monday.

Sophomore Hiroshi Tai shot a 1-under-par 71 at the Omni La Costa North Course in Carlsbad, Calif., to claim the NCAA individual national championship. Tai finished 3-under-par for the tournament and edged five other players who finished 2-under-par after 72 holes of stroke play.

Tai is the fourth Yellow Jacket to claim the NCAA’s individual national title joining Watts Gunn (1927), Charlie Yates (1934) and Troy Matteson (2002). The win also earns Tai a spot in 2025 Masters.

“It means a lot to me,” Tai told the Golf Channel. “Obviously coach (Bruce) Heppler has done a great job of recruiting guys and having good aim with all the recruits and the players that they have. Adding my name to that list is just awesome. I’m just surrounded by a bunch of great guys and a team back in Atlanta as well. It’s been a great experience for me.”

A Singapore native, Tai shot a 5-under-par 67 to open the tournament Friday. But he struggled Saturday with a 77 before rebounding with a 70 on Sunday to stay in the hunt for the title.

Monday’s round for Tai included three birdies, but also a triple bogey on 17 that nearly cost Tai the trophy. He saved par on 18 to card a 71.

Vanderbilt’s Gordon Sargent and Virginia’s Ben James were among those who had a chance to match Tai to force a playoff, but neither could birdie the 18th hole to force extra golf.

“I didn’t really have an idea of where the leaderboard stood up until probably the last few holes,” Tai said. “I didn’t think 3-under was good enough because obviously you have the par-5 18th coming up, but I also know the closing stretch here is really tough. I didn’t really know what to expect so I just stayed in the clubhouse.”

Tai, who served 22 months in the Singapore Navy before enrolling at Tech, had just one top-five finish this season and three top-10 finishes during the 2023-24 season. At the 2023 ACC championship, Tai lost a playoff for the individual title. In the fall of 2022 he won the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate Invitational and the Maui Jim Intercollegiate in a playoff.

Tai’s efforts helped Tech finish eighth overall as a team. The Yellow Jackets qualified for match play and will face No. 1 seed Illinois on Tuesday.