Clovis golfers believe they have talent to win title

By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers

Clovis High boys golf coach George Simmons knows what he can count on from seniors and five-year varsity players Travis Reid and Guillermo Chavez.

If the Wildcats are consistently able to put a couple of good scores with them this season, they’ll be in business.

Reid won the state title last spring but the Cats finished fourth in Class 5A after placing third in each of Simmons’ previous three years. Reid edged defending champion Zach Fullerton of La Cueva by a stroke with a 3-over 143.

Reid and Chavez are ready to take one last shot at La Cueva, which has won the title the last five years.

“If we play our game, I’m not really worried,” said Reid, who believes he’s recovered from off-season knee surgery. “La Cueva’s going to throw up some great scores, but hopefully we’ll be OK.”

The Lady Wildcats graduated their lone state qualifier from last year in Susan Shelley, but coach Jeff Fontanilla noted they’ve already earned one of three needed state qualifying scores in an early-season tournament at Farwell.

“One of our biggest goals is to make it to state,” Fontanilla said. “We have the potential to do some good.”

Reid and Chavez are expected to team up with junior Jordan Moore and seniors Blake Berry and Ryan Hahn for the boys this weekend. Moore returned to the team this spring after playing baseball as a sophomore.

“It’s kind of hard to see where we stand, since we haven’t played yet,” Simmons said. “But I expect us to do well.”

Three younger players who are expected to challenge for a varsity spot are eighth-grader Tyler Fontenot, sophomore Ben Blair and junior Tim Vernon. Fontenot, competing with the CHS junior varsity squad, finished second in a tournament at Farwell recently by shooting a 77.

“I think our bottom three should shoot in the 70s every time out,” Simmons said. “I expect Travis and Guillermo to shoot par or better every time out.”

Reid, who has verbally committed to the University of New Mexico where Chavez has already signed for next year, is ready for the challenge.

“We should be solid,” he said. “I think we have a good chance (at state) as long as we play great.”

The senior-less Lady Wildcats return two of their top five players in juniors Brianne Bracken and Whitney Jones. Also, sophomores Amanda Estes and Tiffani Reid — Travis’ sister — have some varsity experience.

“If we can get in the 360s by the end of the year, we’ll have a pretty decent chance (of making state),” Fontanilla said. “I have a feeling that by next year, though, we’ll be pretty solid.”