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Junior Golfers Compete In Len Ross Tournament

FRESNO – Young athletes from the foothills competed recently in the 67th Annual Len Ross – Fresno City Junior Amateur Tournament, held Monday through Thursday, Apr. 14 – 17 at multiple courses around the city.

According to golf coach Rusty Oetinger, “Oakhurst was well represented by our junior golfers from the area, with six participants competing.”

The top local finisher was Oetinger’s daughter, Claire, who came in 5th place in her division.

The players involved in the tournament, which is open for participants age 7 to 17, were Ryan Emerick, Eddie Nixon, Spencer Uzzell, Kevin Lauterback, Jessica Rudd and Claire Oetinger.

All are students at Yosemite High School, with the exception of Claire, who is in the 8th grade at Wasuma in Ahwahnee. Eddie and Kevin are seniors at YHS, Jessica and Ryan are juniors, and Spencer is a freshman.

The Len Ross tournament is one of the largest of its kind in the state. Competition was held at Fig Garden Golf Course, River Park Golf Course, Riverside Golf Course of Fresno, Airways Municipal Golf Course and San Joaquin Country Club.

“After the first two days of the tournament, played at Fig Garden and Riverside Golf Courses, there was a cut,” explained Oetinger. “Spencer, Kevin, Jessica and Claire made it to the third day. Wednesday’s play took place at Airways. Those four golfers all made it to the final day, which was hosted by San Joaquin Country Club.”

In addition to her 5th place finish, Claire Oetinger was also awarded the Girls Sportsmanship Award.

Claire Oetinger hitting a drive - photo courtesy Rusty Oetinger 2014At San Joaquin Country Club, Kevin had “an outstanding final round,” said Oetinger, shooting 69, and finished tied for 9th in his division. Jessica Rudd finished 13th in her division and Spencer tied for 30th in his.

Coach Oetinger was pleased with the effort and results of all the students who participated, and was proud of Claire not only for placing well but for being given the Sportsmanship Award.

“This is a big honor,” commented her coach, who is also known as her dad. “One girl and one boy are chosen from the entire field of girls and boys. Claire was awarded the honor, because she called a penalty on herself while taking a 13 on one hole.”

Despite taking the 13, Claire had a good attitude about the situation, says Oetinger. “She was playing well up to that point and continued to do so after taking the 13. She is on her way to being a successful golfer in the Central Valley.”

Claire Oetinger after receiving her award - photo courtesy of Rusty Oetinger 2014The Len Ross – Fresno City Junior Amateur Tournament is organized by the nonprofit Fresno-Greater San Joaquin Valley Junior Golf Foundation.

The Foundation’s focus is to promote the game of golf by “targeting challenged youth living in challenged neighborhoods,” and ensureing that “junior golf be available to all boys and girls from all walks of life.”

Click here for tournament results. Top honors were taken by Bullard High School senior Charlie Chapman, in play for his tenth and final year with the Len Ross competition.

Read more about Len Ross and the Junior Golf Foundation here.

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