Prep golfers tee off in Clovis Cup

Clovis West golfers Kyle Kuest (left) and Garrett Takeuchi (center) receive the championship trophy from Clovis Cup director Matt Gutilla after shooting a 74 to win the tournament. Contributed by Matt Gutilla/Clovis Cup

The greater Clovis/Fresno area boys and girls high school golf seasons came to an end last Thursday with a flourish at the Clovis Cup High School Golf Showcase.

The annual non-profit event, established in 2012, took place June 21 at Belmont Country Club and featured 28 of the best young golfers that Clovis Unified School District has to offer with players from Bullard and Central High Schools also participating. Altogether, there were 16 boys and 12 girls.

In the showcase, players from each school paired up in teams and competed in an alternate shot, Ryder Cup-style format.

“It’s really fun for the kids to do it that way because it kind of levels out the playing field in regard to if you have two players that are really good, they have to alternate shots and it puts a lot of pressure on them,” said Clovis Cup founder and director Matt Gutilla. “It has made it out to be pretty competitive for the teams that are playing. It’s always really close.”

In addition to the pride they feel from victory, the winning teams get to keep a trophy at their respective schools for a semester each. The players from each team also have their names engraved on the trophy so they are remembered in perpetuity.

Clovis East will keep the trophy during the coming fall and Clovis West the following spring.

The winners also received $50 dollar gift certificates to Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Morgan Polley (left) and Hannah Sodersten (center) of Clovis East High School accept their trophy from Clovis Cup director Matt Gutilla after finishing first in the girls division. Contributed by Matt Gutilla/Clovis Cup

On the girls side, Morgan Polley and alum Hannah Sodersten from Clovis East took home the top spot shooting a score of 81 while Clovis West’s Kyle Kuest and Garrett Takeuch shot a 74 to take it for the boys.

Tyler Ashman from Buchanan High won the Closest to the Pin award, Kuest won the Long Drive award and Zac Ruskofsky from Clovis High won the Len Ross Memorial medal.

Gutilla, who has been a golf coach for several schools in Clovis including Clark Intermediate and Clovis High, said that he came up with the idea for the event because he wanted something that would unify the golfers from CUSD.

“I just thought that it would be kind of neat to tie in the high schools and occasionally the middle school players if the kids in the middle schools were good enough to play,” he said. “It became something that the kids would look forward to playing in at the end of every year.”

Gutilla said that his goal for the future of the event is to make it a Central Valley and perhaps a statewide competition where teams from areas such as Bakersfield and Sacramento come to compete at the end of each high school golf season in June.

Michael Ford
Michael graduated from Fresno State in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in print journalism. During his time at the university, he served as sports and managing editor for The Collegian, Fresno State’s student-run newspaper. In addition to the Clovis Roundup, Michael has written for The Fresno Bee, the Kingsburg Recorder and Selma Enterprise. He has a passion for sports and can be found on the sidelines at local games, bringing the citizens of Clovis the athletics news they deserve.