Jason Higton waited 18 years to hold the trophy again (Fresno Bee photo)
FRESNO, CA (May 28, 2018) - Jason Higton won the 91st Fresno City Championship on Monday, 18 years after he won his first one back in 2000.
Higton, who played at Bullard High School in Fresno before playing college golf up the road at the University of the Pacific (he was midway through his college career when he won in 2000), tried professional golf before regaining his amateur status and moving back to Fresno, where he got into the real estate business.
It didn't look like Higton would be contending when the day started. Through two rounds, he was at 2 under, in a five-way tie for 7th and seven shots behind the overnight leader Blake Bourelle.
Playing two groups ahead of the leaders, Higton and playing partner Danny Paniccia each made a charge and ended up with the two low rounds of the day. Higton was flawless, with six birdies scattered across the card, including on 16 and 18, to post a 66 for an 8-under 208 total.
Paniccia, a four-time (1996, 2010-12) Fresno City champion, made a strong bid for his fifth title. He was 1 over for the day through the 8th hole, but an eagle on 9 and four birdies on his last seven holes gave him a 67. Still, he couldn't quite catch Higton and finished one shot short.
With his number posted, Higton would wait for the final two groups to come in to see if it would hold up. All six players in the final two groups started the day ahead of him, but one by one they would fall just short.
First it was Israel Garcia, then Michael Cliff, and finally the Bourelle, who needed to make birdie on the par-5 finisher to force a playoff. But all would ultimately fall one shot short, tied with Paniccia for second at 7 under.
Jason Anthony, the San Francisco City champion who was two shots back to start the day, seemed poised to make a move but couldn't overcome a slow start and finished tied for 6th with Alex Sylvan at 5 under.
The defending champion Jacob Fukano shot rounds of 72-73-76 to finish tied for 17th.
ABOUT THE Fresno City Amateur
NCGA Points Event. 54-hole stroke play event open
all amateurs with a 5.4 index or better. The low 40
ties advance to the third round.
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