The Arizona sports landscape was a bit different back in 1986. There were no Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Coyotes or Arizona Diamondbacks. The Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers or Phoenix Rising? Not even close.
So, when a quartet of high school golfers traveled to Portland, Oregon in the summer of ’86 and won one of the most prestigious junior golf events in the world, it was a kind of a big deal – and actually, it still is.
[SPECIAL SECTION: Sports in Arizona]
The Eddie Hogan Cup was established in 1969. The four-player team tournament began as an international event to honor Hogan, Riverside Golf & Country Club’s influential golf pro who tragically drowned in 1969. Hogan Cup alumni include the likes of Tiger Woods, Ricky Fowler and Fred Couples. Since that magical summer 32 years ago, no team from Arizona could repeat the championship feat of that 1986 team - until now.
In mid-August, Phoenix-area high school golfers Mahanth Chirravuri, 14, Gavin Aurelia, 14, Tucker Clark, 16, and Jake Carlson, 17, traveled to Portland, battled the elements, outlasted the international field and brought the Hogan Cup back to Arizona - for the first time in 32 years.
“When we got there, there was a shirt that listed all the past winners and we saw, “Arizona 1986,” said Gavin, an Arcadia High School student and son of former Major League Baseball player Rich Aurilia. “So we were like, 'OK, we’ve got to win this week and show everybody the state of Arizona can play some golf.'”
“It was special,” said Carlson, a student at Sandra Day O’Connor High School. “It was an awesome opportunity. We had some great teammates and it was a special moment.”
Arizona started the final round in second place, one shot behind San Diego. The team weathered difficult conditions in the final round, finishing with a two-day total of 214-224 – 438 (+6), three strokes ahead of second-place SoCal (defending champs) 217-224 – 441 (+9); four strokes ahead of third-place San Diego 213-229 – 442 (+10).
“It was a little windy and rain came in for a couple holes,” said Carlson. “But we battled through it. The greens though actually became softer and receptive so we hit some shots and ended up throwing some darts.”
“It was really tight there at the end,” said Clark, an Arcadia student. “Our guys really played well down the stretch and we were fortunate enough to get it done.”
Chirravuri and Aurilia finished T-6 individually, 3-over par. Carlson and Clark finished T-10 individually, 4-over par.
“It’s really cool to win individually but to win as a team is that much more special,” said Clark. “I had so much emotion coming down the fairway and I was super excited for the guys. It was amazing to cap that week off with a win.”
An added twist, the four high school golfers, while familiar with each other from the junior golf circuit, had never played together as a "team" prior to this year's Hogan Cup. They were chosen based on individual scores and skill. The four teenage golfers bonded on the fly in the cold and breezy Pacific Northwest to bring Arizona a championship.
“Outside of golf, we were never really buddies,” said Carlson. “So when we got to the host house [in Portland], we watched some golf and messed around. It was kind of weird but it brought us together.”
And in the end, that camaraderie helped bring home the Hogan Cup.
“It was cool,” said Carlson. “We knew what we had to do and we did it. [Arizona kids] know how to play some golf.”
About the Eddie Hogan Cup
The event began in 1969 in commemoration of the vast achievements and contributions to the sport by Eddie Hogan, Riverside's longtime head golf professional who served the club from 1939 until his tragic drowning death in 1968. Hogan, an Oregon Amateur champion and PNGA Amateur champion, was credited for transforming the role of the golf professional, developing what is now considered the standard for the green grass pro shop. Hogan was also dedicated in helping the Oregon Golf Association develop its widely recognized junior golf program. Hogan Cup alumni include tour players such as Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, Fred Couples, Bryson DeChambeau, Casey Martin, Peter Jacobsen, Jeff Quinney, Patrick Cantlay, Bobby Clampett, Lennie Clements, Scott Simpson, Robert Gamez, Bill Sanders, Kirk Triplett, John Fought and Jason Gore.
About Junior Golf Association of Arizona
The Junior Golf Association of ARizona is a 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to educate, motivate and inspire Arizona’s youth through golf and all of the valuable lessons and life skills inherent to the game. In addition to hosting competitive events, the JGAA develops programs for local schools, assists golf courses with their junior programs, conducts college prep seminars and etiquette clinics. The Junior Ambassador and Guest Speaker Programs give JGAA students the opportunity to learn, develop and adopt successful habits and practices – both on and off the golf course – from a collection of prominent, civic-minded community and business leaders. The JGAA also awards two scholarship funds annually to high school senior members of the JGAA for their college education – the Tres Arnold and the John Wolfinger Memorial College Scholarships. The JGAA’s strong belief in teamwork and cooperation has guided the organization for more than 30 years and is instilled in all of its members. For more information JGAA, visitwww.jgaa.org
or call 602-944-6168. Cooperation has guided the organization for more than 30 years and is instilled in all of its members. For more information JGAA, visitwww.jgaa.org
or call 602-944-6168.
Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.