The Bee's Fall All-Stars: Girls Golfer of the Year Hannah Facchini

The Fresno BeeDecember 11, 2013 

Hanford West's Hannah Facchini putts during the Central Section Individual Championships at Madera Country Club on Nov. 5, 2013.

MARK CROSSE — Fresno Bee Staff Photo Buy Photo

The youngest of four children from a proud, accomplished Italian family in Hanford, Hannah Facchini tip-toed into high school as a freshman three years ago.

She was conscious of the attention, based solely on her last name at Hanford West, where two brothers and a sister had established the family identity:

Brennen the first baseman, who would go on and play at Menlo College.

Morgan the catcher, who would advance her career at Biola.

And Hudson, the four-year varsity catcher, who was recruited to Cal State Monterey Bay. That's where baseball stopped, but he remains there nearing a degree in marine science.

Back to Hannah as that uncertain Huskies freshman in the fall of 2010. She could hit a softball and make a few baskets, but hardly of Facchini ilk.

And that included dad, Mark Facchini, a three-sport athlete at Hanford; and mom, the former Luanne Nelson, as a Central Section champion swimmer at Tulare.

"I had really big shoes to fill," Hannah Facchini says. "On the first day of school, everybody knew who I was. The teachers, the substitutes, they knew the family background. It was kind of intimidating."

Not today. Not for The Bee's Player of the Year in golf, a sport she grasped at the 11th hour on the suggestion of her father.

"It was a really good call," says the daughter, who went unbeaten against Central Section competition this season. "For me now, it's school work and golf; that's pretty much my life. And I'm OK with that."

She'll take her 3.8 grade-point average and a talent that balances long- and short-game excellence to UC Riverside on a Division I scholarship.

And that was a game she didn't take up until the summer before her freshman year.

"Pretty neat," says Mark Facchini, a pharmacist who runs the Student Health Center at Fresno State. "I had a D-II (Monterey Bay), a D-III (Menlo) and an NAIA (Biola) in the house, but I never thought Hannah would be the first D-I of the group, and she did it through hard work on her own.

"In golf, which isn't a team sport, you either do it or you don't; you don't have anybody else to turn to. Frankly, that's why she turned to golf, and it worked."

It really began working as a junior last year, when Facchini was named a Bee All-Star after winning the section D-III title and placing sixth in the overall section tournament.

Then to this season's dominance: She went 7 for 7 in West Yosemite League tournaments, averaging 36.6 strokes per nine holes, and repeated her D-III title before winning the section individual tournament by two strokes with a 3-over 76 at Madera Golf & Country Club.

That occurred on a day only three other golfers in the 51-player field broke 80.

Facchini closed her season by leading section representatives with a 75 in the Southern California Championship at The Golf Course at Rancho Murrietta, missing by two strokes advancing to the state final.

"I made every goal except going to state," she says. "But I can't complain. I'm very happy with the way it all turned out. I had a lot of support from my family, and I'm very grateful."

Player of the Year: Hannah Facchini

School: Hanford West

Grade: Senior

Tee shots: Unbeaten against Central Section competition in nine events, including 7 for 7 in WYL tournaments while averaging 36.6 per nine holes. … '12 Bee All-Star successfully defended D-III title with 1-over 73 at Valley Oaks before winning section overall individual title with 3-over 76 at Madera Country Club. … Closed season with section-leading 3-over 75 at SoCal Regional. … Next: UC Riverside.

Coach says: "She always had the ability to drive the ball with distance. Her shortfalls, early on, were the short game: Can you get up and down around the green? Can you save par? Can you knock in the 8-foot putt? And that's what she's gotten very good at. Her short game, chipping and putting, have improved dramatically. No kid that I've known my entire life works like she does."

— Hanford West's Mark Kairis

 

The reporter can be reached at aboogaard@fresnobee.com or @beepreps on Twitter.

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