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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor

Golf sport shorts, 2008

(Latest coed golf shorts will be at the top of the section. Scroll down to check out past results. Tournament games do not count toward win/loss record. Visit the Sports Section for coed golf features)

For the 2008 schedule or standings and stats, click on Maxpreps.com. FC finished the season at 10-0-0 overall and 6-0 in the Southwest Sierra League.

Despite not playing their best at the difficult Pheasant Run Golf Course, the Eagles still shot a combined 490 to finish in third place, behind Yosemite and Kerman, in the small schools division of the North Area tournament, May 5.

Clovis West shot a solid 374, as all six players shot in the 70’s, to easily win the large school’s division.

Sophomore Spencer Lee shot 85, sophomore Clark Jacobson 90, senior Justin Bridges 94, senior Carson Hopper 104, and senior David Fujihara 118.

Lee was in the running to qualify for the Valley tournament, as a individual, before consecutive triple-bogeys, on hole Nos. 3-4, sabotaged his front nine, as the Eagles No. 1 went out in 45.

Jacobson started strong with a 43 on the front nine, and stumbled to a 47 on the back, but still had a smile on his face at the end of the round.

“I would have rather shot an 87 or 88, but I’m not than upset with my score,” Jacobson said. “I hit my drive out of bounds right on the 12th hole, and made a triple, but other than that I didn’t play that bad.”

The long course, and unusually soggy fairways, accounted for the higher-than-usual scoring, as no players in the tournament broke 70.

Though they came up short at area, the future looks bright for the second year program.

“I think we will have a good chance to win the league the next two years,” Lee said. “With the good young players that we have, we are set up for future success. We’ll definitely be back here next year competing for a spot in the Valley tournament.”

FC finished the season at 10-0-0 overall and 6-0 in the Southwest Sierra League.

Even with howling wind and brutal course conditions, the Eagles shot a combined 471 to win the Southwest Sierra League Championship by 28 strokes over second-place Fowler.

The second year golf program’s win marks the first golf championship in school history.

“We set out with a competitive goal that this be a ‘banner year,’ with the desire to add a championship banner to the wall in the gym. Today we accomplished that by winning the tournament and topping the league. What great fun to do what you’ve set out to do!”

With the stiff wind accounting for scores 10-12 strokes higher than usual, no player in the tournament broke 80 as nobody was immune to the weather.

“The course beat me up today,” sophomore Spencer Lee said. “It is so difficult to score in that much wind, and it really wore me out over the course of the round. And those greens are so difficult to read, that very few putts were going in.”

FC’s counting scores were: Lee 86, sophomore Clark Jacobson 89, senior Justin Bridges 92, senior Carson Hopper 101, and freshman Tim De Groot 103.

“Clark ended the league season with quite a rush,” Hopper said. “His game improved immensely in the last two weeks, and his solid play in the wind secured him the sixth place medal.”

Though focused for the difficult challenge of the Area tournament in the near future, the team celebrated their accomplishments this season by going to a nearby seven-eleven for slurpies on the coach.

Coming into the southwest Sierra League mini (9-hole) tournament, FC held a slim 1 point edge over second place Liberty in the race for a league title. While the Eagles had an average day at Lemoore, April 22, shooting a combined 232, it proved good enough for 2nd place out of the 7 teams at the tournament.

Dos Palos, who won the tournament, shot a combined 229, as 4 of their top 5 players shot career-low scores.

“The Dos Palos victory was a surprise, in that they were fifth place in the league in the dual matches,” head coach Jeff Hopper said. “But we did what we had to do, finishing ahead of Liberty and Fowler to hold on to the lead.”

With the high finish, FC collected 6 points, to go along with the the 6 they earned in the regular season. With 12 total points, the Eagles currently hold a comfortable 3 point lead over both Liberty and an inconsistent Dos Palos team. Fowler limped away from Lemoore in third and with 8 points.

FC received a tournament-low 36 from sophomore Spencer Lee, on a day when only one other player (Clovis Christian junior Micah DiFalco) broke 40. Lemoore golf course played somewhat quirky with inaccurate yardage, irregularly undulated greens, and super tight fairways, accounting for the high scoring.

“Spencer’s even-par round, which included a closing birdie, gave us the head-start we needed for a solid day,” Hopper said. “It also gave him the lead for the individual championship going into the final 18 holes of the league tournament, next week.”

FC’s other counting scores were a pair of 47’s by sophomore Clark Jacobson and senior Carson Hopper, a 49 by senior Justin Bridges, and a 53 by senior David Fujihara.

Even with Fresno West’s notorious wind almost a non-factor, the Eagles did not take advantage shooting a season-high 248, but it proved good enough to beat Tranquillity’s 298.

“This was not our finest hour,” head coach Jeff Hopper said. “I think we played down to the level of our competition a bit, but we can be proud of finishing the dual match season undefeated.”

Only two players, in the match, broke 50 on the unusually difficult day for FC. Sophomore Spencer Lee shot a 42, and senior Justin Bridges a 46 to lead the Eagles to their 10th straight victory.

FC goes into the league tournament as the only undefeated team, but Hopper says the team can expect some competition from Liberty Madera-Ranchos (4-1) for the title.

“Liberty does not really shoot any low scores, but they are consistent,” Hopper said. “We have a one point advantage over them, but we have a long way to go to win the league championship.”

Though somewhat unfamiliar with Airways golf course, after playing all of their previous matches at Riverside, the Eagles shot a combined 217 to beat Fowler’s 235 and remain undefeated.

“This was a treacherous match, against our best competition on their home course,” head coach Jeff Hopper said. “Airways can really be a trap, with a lot of big trees, and nearby out-of-bounds.”

Fowler, last year’s Southwest Sierra League runner-up, looked as though they were poised to give FC a challenge, but could not even leave a scratch on the Eagles record.

Sophomore Spencer Lee shot a personal-best round of 30, which did not include any bogeys, to lead the Eagles.

“It was fitting that our most seasoned competitive player came up huge, with four birdies on the day,” Hopper said. “A 30 is a great score on any course at any time, but on this day, it was truly special for him and for the team.”

Coming off two consecutive rounds in the 40’s at Riverside, Lee was excited to play Airways because of the easier course conditions and change of scenery.

“There is something about that course that just fits my eye,” Lee said. “This was a dream round today. I never even got close to getting in trouble on any hole. It was a stress-free day.”

Sophomore Clark Jacobson came in second for the match, tying Fowler’s No. 1 Matt Gorrella with a 41. Following not far behind was freshman Tim DeGroot who posted a solid 47, Senior Justin Bridges with a 49, and senior David Fujihara with a 50.

“Now we start tuning up for the league tournaments,” Hopper said. “We have a match at Fresno West next against Tranquillity who has struggled this year.This match will be more about shooting our best possible scores on a course where the wind can really blow and the greens are terribly slow. It should be a good challenge for us.”

For the third straight match, the Eagles shot 5 scores below fifty, as they defeated Clovis Christian 227-299, April 1.

Utilizing their home course advantage, the team used good course management, holding their games together as their opponents faltered.

“This was our last home match, and again the course gave our visitors fits,” head coach Jeff Hopper said. “(Junior) Micah DiFalco, their top player, may be the best in our league, but even he finished with three consecutive bogeys to end his round.”

Though he faltered on the last three holes, DiFalco, last year’s league individual runner-up, shot a 39 to pace the Wildcats.

The Eagles did not shoot any “low” scores, but played their usual solid golf to run away with the 72 strokes victory.

Sophomore Spencer Lee shot 42, senior David Fujihara posted a personal-best 46, as did sophomore Clark Jacobson and senior Justin Bridges, while senior Carson Hopper finished with 47.

“For April fool’s day fun, Fuji was our surprise number two player, and he played like it, shooting his best score of the season,” Hopper said. “This included a screaming chip-in par on the seventh hole, that slammed into the flag-stick and fell into the hole. Lucky shots like that don’t happen every day, so you take them whenever they come.”

Hopper was also pleased with the play of Jacobson, his No. 5 player, and says he is bouncing back from some poor outings.

“Clark started with a couple of bad holes, but then he fought back with a long birdie at four, and a great par at seven,” Hopper said. “This was a great rebound round for him, because he has been working hard to fix some recent troubles.”

Though not their best outing of the season, the Eagles (237) defeated Madera South (298) by 61 strokes at FC’s home course, Riverside, March 27.

Head coach Jeff Hopper believes that the Eagles weekly practice at Riverside provides the team with a definite advantage over inexperienced visiting teams.

“Madera South is a new program like ours, so they have some guys still learning the game,” Hopper said. “When guys like this come out to Riverside for the first time, the golf course really eats them up. There are a lot of subtle ways to get in trouble there.”

Even without their No. 4 man, freshman Tim De Groot, FC still managed to post a decent team score, though their total was 15 strokes higher than in the win earlier this week against Liberty Madera-Ranchos.

Sophomore Spencer Lee shot a 41, senior Carson Hopper came through with a 44, and senior Justin Bridges finished with 47 for the Eagles.

“Carson came up with his best nine of the year,” Hopper said. “This helped a lot on a day when the other guys struggled.”

Hopper cited the mental strain that golf brings as one of the reasons for the some-what higher scores.

“We’ve played a lot of golf the past several days, and it’s beginning to take a toll on our sharpness,” Hopper said. “A lighter schedule over the next week or so should help us get back in shape for the upcoming tournaments.”

The Eagles next match will be against Clovis Christian at Riverside Golf Course, April 1, 3:30 p.m.

In their first real match in over a week, the Eagles picked up where they left off, beating Liberty-Madera Ranchos 222-250, March 25.

Sophomore Spencer Lee led the Eagles with a score of 39, and senior Justin Bridges followed not far behind with a 40, as the Eagles top two boosted the squad to their fifth straight win.

Though brutal winds tested the players, FC came up big against their league rival with all 5 counting scores below 50, while only one Liberty player shot in the 40’s.

“I that because everyone on our team has a chance to shoot in the fourties everytime they tee it up, we will have a great chance to win our league,” Lee said. “Our team is getting better and more experienced everytime we play.”

Senior Carson Hopper, who has been a consistent player all year for FC, shot a 47, while freshman Tim De Groot and senior David Fujihara posted 48’s, helping the Eagles to a 28 stroke victory.

“Our first group, Spencer and Justin, came through with solid scores that pushed us out to a big early lead,” head coach Jeff Hopper said. “In fact, Justin’s 40 was his best nine of the year so far. Then David came up with his best score too, and that sealed the match.”

Prior to the match, Hopper told his players it would take some good scores to beat the Hawks (4-3-1).

“Liberty along with Fowler, is one of our two toughest league opponents, so we had to be ready for this match,” Hopper said. “This was tough since it was the first day back from vacation, but I was happy with how we played.”

The Eagles match with Roosevelt was unexpectedly cancelled, March 14.

Because of sickness and illegibility, the Rough Riders brought only 3 players to Riverside Golf Course.

Though the situation was disappointing, head coach Jeff Hoppers made the best of it by sending his team off in foursomes on Riverside’s front-nine, with Roosevelt playing behind them.

“I was disappointed that the match got cancelled because I have a competitive attitude, and like playing against other teams,” senior Justin Bridges said. “It was still a fun day, because our team got to play and hang out, and that was good.”

With all 5 of their counting scores in the 40’s, the undefeated Eagles shot a combined 228 to defeat Riverdale (282), at the Riverside Golf Course, March 11.

Even on a day that saw the Eagles’ top two players struggle, FC proved that they could win anyway.

Led by sophomore Clark Jacobson with a 44, and freshman Tim DeGroot with a career-low 45, FC easily claimed victory by 54 strokes.

“Clark posted a very solid score after starting the day off with a ball out of bounds,” head coach Jeff Hopper said. “And Tim came up with his best score ever to balance our team out.”

Senior Justin Bridges, and sophomore Spencer Lee both posted 46s, while senior Carson Hopper shot a 48 on his 18th birthday.

“This was a great day to be a team!,” Hopper said. “Our top guys struggled, but our lower guys came through. One of the things that is really helping us is that the guys are becoming more balanced and competitive among one another, and this pushes them to do their best all the time.”

Led by solid play from their top three players, the Eagles shot a season-low 239, to easily defeat Dos Palos (291) at Riverside Golf Course.

“We expected this to be a more challenging match, as both teams played at Madera Muni last week, and we were within five shots of one another,” head coach Jeff Hopper said, “but the Dos Palos guys were really off their games. They also mentioned struggling with our coarse, so it’s nice to know that we may have a true home course advantage.”

The Eagles were led by sophomore Spencer Lee, who shot the day’s low score, a 1-over 36. While he parred the first 8 holes, Lee finished the round with his only bogey of the day on the difficult par-5 9th.

“I am very happy with the way I played,” Lee said. “It was one of those days where everything seemed to go my way. I posted a pretty good score, and I’m not going to be too upset over one bad hole.”

Hopper was pleased with his sophomore’s round, but says there is still room for improvement.

“Spencer put together another solid nine holes,” Hopper said. “He is not hitting the ball as well as he is capable of yet, as he joined us late from basketball, but he used his short game to save pars all day long.”

Senior Justin Bridges came in 2nd behind his teammate, shooting a 44, and sophomore Clark Jacobson placed 3rd with a 47, as the Eagles top 3 players beat the Broncos top 3 by a decisive 45 stokes.

“Some of our guys are still looking for consistency,” Hopper said. “But this should come with more practice. Golf is a sport that can go well one day, and be a real frustration the next.”

The Eagles played well as a team, on a windy afternoon at Madera Municipal Golf Course, once again shooting a combined 243 to defeat Madera South (303) on the Stallion’s home course.

Sophomore Spencer Lee shot a 41, senior Justin Bridges 47, and freshman Tim DeGroot 49, to lead the Eagles to an easy victory.

DeGroot, the fill-in, for senior Taylor Torrence, brought home the win for FC, playing in the final group, and posting a career low score.

“A different set of guys stepped up after our top players struggled,” head coach Jeff Hopper said. “The fast greens fooled some of the players, and most got off to a slow start.”

Many of the players were fooled by the quickness and subtle undulations of the greens, but senior Carson Hopper says he “didn’t have any problem on the greens.”

“The greens were faster than we were used to, but I didn’t have any three-putts,” Hopper said. “Today was a good team effort. We won because, everyone on our team beat at least one of the opposing players.”

Though the Eagles won by 60 strokes, coach Hopper says Madera South will bring a much improved team to play FC, at Fig Garden Golf Course, when the two teams next meet, March. 27.

“This was Madera South’s first match this season, and they’re still sorting out their team, so they had some real difficulties,” Hopper said. “When we play them again in a month, they should have improved significantly. Hopefully we will have too.”

FC outlasted Fresno High in the season opener, shooting a combined score of 243 while the Warriors finished with 285.

Though half of the team are new to the sport, the match proved successful for the 2nd year team.

Sophomore Spencer Lee led the Eagles with an even-par 36. After starting with a double bogey 6 on the first hole, Lee proceeded to shoot 2 under par for the next 8 holes.

“I was really excited about my round,” Lee said. “But (senior) Justin (Bridges) also played very well for the conditions. We fed off of each others play, and it produced two good scores.”

Bridges, a first year senior, came up big in his first competitive match with a solid 43, with included a birdie on the difficult par-3 7th.

With rain being one of the hardest conditions to play in, the players were forced not only to adjust their play, but also to lower their expectations.

“The weather was very tough,” head coach Jeff Hopper said.” It started raining heavily by the time the first group reached the fourth tee, and the guys were pretty wet and cold after that. But when asked if they wanted to shorten the round, they said no chance.”

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