Caden Fioroni rides hot final round to Patriot All-America title
- Patriot / UNLV photo
Birdies were plentiful all week at the Patriot All-America Invitational held on the Gold Course at the Wigwam Golf Club, but they seemed to be eluding Caden Fioroni - until Saturday when it counted the most.
The UNLV junior fired a final round 8-under 63 to erase a five-stroke deficit to win the Patriot All-America championship by one stroke over Oklahoma's Ben Lorenz.
Gabriel Salvanera, Stephen Campbell Jr. of Oklahoma, Herman Sekne of Purdue and Conner Jones of Colorado State finished two back at 10-under 203.
Playing in the second to last group of the day, Fioroni sent early shock waves through the Wigwam after holing out his second shot for an eagle on the par-4 second hole and followed with birdies on the next two holes to go to 4-under on the day.
After giving a stroke back on the sixth hole, Fioroni stayed steady with five consecutive pars but was still looking up at the leaders with seven holes remaining. He then took matters into his own hands and picked up five birdies over the last seven holes, including three in a row to post an 8-under 63 and cement the championship.
The capper came on the final hole, a twisting putt that curled in the side door and elicited an emphatic fist pump:
The San Diego native saved his best for last. After making just five birdies combined in his first two rounds on the forgiving Blue Course, Fioroni had seven to go along with an eagle on his Saturday card.
“I have no words right now, honestly I knew I was really behind today and this is the first time I never thought about my score,” said Fioroni. “I knew I needed to make as many birdies as I could. I was so much in the zone I didn’t realize until after the round that I shot 8-under. I’m kind of in shock right now – I don’t know what to say.”
Five different players led the tournament after the end of the first two rounds and Fioroni saved his best for the last to become the sixth.
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University of Arizona senior Chaz Aurilia won the inaugural Thunderbolt at Sterling Grove Golf and Country Club in Surprise, Ariz.
Aurilia and Joseph Lloyd of Fresno State matched scores (68-66-69) for the third straight round to finish the 54-hole event at 13-under. On the second playoff hole, Aurilia made a 20-foot birdie putt forcing Lloyd to make his 18-footer. It caught plenty of the hole but lipped out, leaving the Aurilia with the title.
ABOUT THE Patriot All-America
The Wigwam and the Golf Coaches Association
of America (GCAA), in partnership with the
Folds of Honor Foundation present the Patriot All-
America Invitational. It's one of the most unique
in all of golf.
84 top collegiate players named to the PING All-
America team in NCAA Division I,II and III, NAIA
NJCAA, AJGA, one player from each military
and select international players compete in a 54-
Each player honors our military by carrying a bag
the name, rank and service of a fallen or severely
wounded soldier embroidered on the pocket.
the championship, the bags go to the players’ school
for auction, with proceeds benefiting the Folds of
View Complete Tournament Information