Zach Mikus helped take much, but not all, of the drama out of the Central Section boys team golf championships.
Mikus was the individual medalist with a 5-under 67 to lead Clovis West High to a 24-stroke victory over Bullard, Stockdale and Central Valley Christian for the Division I title Tuesday at Madera’s Dragonfly Golf Club.
It was the Golden Eagles’ 15th section championship and third in the past four seasons, according to historian Bob Barnett.
“I just got hot,” Mikus said of his best round of the season, and his best ever on the course. “It was great to help out my team today.”
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Clovis West moves on to the CIF Southern California Regional, set for May 28 at Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena.
Bullard will join the Golden Eagles as a Central Section qualifier after winning a tiebreaker for second place with Stockdale and CVC after all three shot 398. It came down to the best sixth-player score, with Braden Morizono’s 91 giving the berth to the Knights.
“It proves every shot counts,” Morizono said.
Mikus, a senior and the team’s only returning full-time starter, made every shot count for Clovis West while winning his second straight tournament. He shot a 1-under 71 last week to win the North Area championships at Riverside Golf Course.
Mikus opened with a 32, the lowest score on the front nine, and followed with a 35.
He hit 13 of 14 fairways, reached the green in regulation 15 times and needed only 30 putts, an average of 1.7 per hole. Mikus finished with three birdies, one eagle and for the first time in his career, no bogeys.
“He’s really hit his stride,” Clovis West coach Tom Deal said. “He’s playing with so much confidence right now.”
The Golden Eagles also received a 2-over 74 from Peter Kuest, who hit 12 fairways, reached the green in regulation 11 times and needed 31 putts.
A part-time starter last season, Kuest was proud to help continue Clovis West’s winning ways.
“It puts a lot of pressure on us to keep up the tradition, but it’s a good pressure,” Kuest said. “We all try our hardest for the team. If one guy falls behind, we pick him up. A lot of it is team chemistry. If you don’t have it like we do, it’s hard to play team golf.”
Three first-year varsity players, freshman Tyler Gardner (76) and seniors Nate Biltz (78) and Hayden Sorbo (79), rounded out the Eagles’ scoring lineup.
“We struggled at the beginning,” Deal said. “To come from where we were at the beginning to where they are today, it says a lot about the character of these kids.”
Clovis West shot 185 on the front nine, followed by Stockdale (192), CVC (196) and Bullard (199). The Mustangs (206) and Cavaliers (202) each faltered on the back nine, allowing the Knights (199) to force the three-way tie for second.
Charlie Chapman helped Bullard rally for its first SoCal Regional berth since 2010 with a 38 on the back nine for a 4-over 76.
“I’m a senior and we’ve been close every year,” Chapman said. “To move on finally feels pretty good.”
Fresno Christian’s Michael Cliff was second individually at 2-under 69, helping the Eagles capture the school’s first Division II title. Hanford was second at 434, led by Lane Pulliam’s 72.
“My driver was working extremely well,” said Cliff, who had five birdies. “I put myself in some good positions.”
Cliff, a sophomore, closed with a 34 on the back nine, while his senior brother, Daniel, shot 35 after the turn to finish at 75.