It took a tiebreaker, but the last-minute matchup team of Michael Cliff of Fresno Christian High School and Michael Jura of Bullard High School clinched the 2017 Clovis Cup at Belmont Country Club on Thursday.
Their score of 71 was matched by Cameron DeLeare of Clovis West High School and Kevin Scrivner of Kastner Intermediate.
Cliff and Jura both lacked partners from their own schools to play in the annual all-star golf tournament, so their coaches suggested they pair up and “we joined forces,” Jura said. “This was my first year in this event, so it was pretty cool to win it.”
The 104-degree heat didn’t affect their play, the boys said.
“We played well,” Cliff said.
“We were playing so fast the heat didn’t bother us at all,” Jura added.
Heat wasn’t an issue for Clovis West teammates Claire Shubin and Taylor Dufresne, who claimed the girls cup with a score of 78.
“We’ve played in tournaments where we’ve felt like we were dying, but today was pretty good,” Shubin said. Dufresne added: “It was a lot nicer driving carts. That helped a lot.”
The girls had a few challenges early on, especially when it came to putting.
“There were definitely a couple of shots where we were like, ‘Oh gosh, what are we going to do with this one?’ ” Shubin said. “There were obviously putts that we didn’t make and putts that we did make.”
“We always kept a positive attitude and we were hoping for the best,” Dufresne chimed in, “And it worked out.”
In all, 38 student-athletes participated in the 2017 Clovis Cup, a high school showcase featuring elite players from Fresno and competing in an alternate-shot format. The tournament donates proceeds to The First Tee of Fresno, a youth development organization that introduces the game of golf and its inherent values to all youth in the community.
Closest to the Pin awards went to Morgan Polley of Clovis East and Adam Montague of Clovis West.
Longest Drive went to Dufresne and Buchanan’s Tyler Ashman.
Clovis Cup Director Matt Gutilla also handed out two special medals this year in honor of the late Len Ross, well known for his junior amateur golf tournament.
The Len Ross Memorial Director’s Award recognizes athletes who exemplify the nine core values highlighted by The First Tee of Fresno: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment, Gutilla explained.
“Len Ross ... was my next-door neighbor; I grew up next to him,” Gutilla said. “I thought I would award a medal to a player who represents his values — and The First Tee of Fresno’s nine core values — and honor them in honor of him. It’ll be an ongoing award from this year forward.”
The inaugural award was given to Clovis West’s Taylor Dufresne and Fresno Christian’s Michael Cliff.
“[Clovis West] Coach [Ken] Shipley said [Taylor Dufresne] is the kind of person you always want to be around, she’s nice to everybody, she’s a great teammate,” Gutilla said. “She practices the nine core values of The First Tee on a daily basis.”
Cliff was recommended by The First Tee of Fresno executive director Mike Firpo, Gutilla said.
“[Firpo] has told me on more than one occasion about Michael’s commitment to The First Tee and about being a role model for those kids … learning how to play golf and also learning how to do things in their life that will make them great people,” he said.
The tournament is made possible annually by generous sponsors, Gutilla noted. He hopes to expand the tournament to include athletes from beyond the Fresno-Clovis Area.
“And Belmont [Country Club] is a fabulous host,” he said. “They allow all of the kids to take carts to deal with the heat; we can’t thank them enough for supporting all-star high school golf.”
2017 Clovis Cup results
Cliff/Jura – Fresno Christian/Bullard 71* (won tie-breaker)
DeLeare/Scrivner – Clovis West/Kastner 71
Ochlschleager/Boe – Buchanan 73
Ruskofsky/Evans – Clovis 75* (won tie-breaker)
Ashman/Chiarito – Buchanan/Alta Sierra 75
Foster/Mincer – Clovis 76
Tran/Tran – Clovis North/Granite Ridge 79* (won tie-breaker)
Hoover/Odenwelder – Central 79
Cook/Stockdale – Bullard 79
Montague/Takauchi – Clovis West 80
Selling/Bettencourt – Buchanan/Alta Sierra 81
Ohashi/Watkins – Clovis/Clark 86* (won tie-breaker)
Wiemiller/Hobie – Clovis East 86
Shubin/Dufresne – Clovis West 78
Polley/Jimenez – Clovis East 79
Millwee/Goudy – Buchanan 80
Dimauro/Kurtt – Central/Clovis North 82
Parayno/Nelson – Bullard 96
Avila/Williams – Bullard 107