Birmingham Seaholm’s Francesco Ruffino voted Mr. Golf

By: Christian Davis | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 12, 2011

 Birmingham Seaholm’s Francesco Ruffino was voted Mr. Golf by the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association.

Birmingham Seaholm’s Francesco Ruffino was voted Mr. Golf by the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association.

File photo by David Schreiber


Birmingham Seaholm sophomore Francesco Ruffino was on a practice putting green in Oregon when he got the call.

“My coach called me and told me I was Mr. Golf,” Ruffino remembered. “I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited. It was just a great feeling.”

Board and Hall of Fame members of the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association voted Ruffino Mr. Golf.

On the season, the lefty averaged 71.5 for 18 holes.

In tournament play, he was a force, winning the Pinckney Invite and the Division 1 district regional titles

In the state final, he finished third, just one shot out of the playoff.

“I’m just tickled pink. He’s the first sophomore to win the award,” Seaholm coach Leon Braisted III said. “I think he’s the total package. He has a great short game, and where most people may say, ‘I missed the green,’ he says, ‘Get me my wedge. I’ll get it up and down.’”

Braisted said Ruffino is also a team player and doesn’t rely on his natural talent.
“He has a great work ethic, and always encourages his teammates and brings the best out of them,” the coach said. “He didn’t get to where he is now showing up five minutes before his tee time. He works hard on his game.”

Ruffino said he was honored to win the award, but it wasn’t his main goal.

“The No. 1 goal was to win the team state tournament, and the second goal was to play well enough to be mentioned for the award,” he said.

Ruffino added that the difference from this season compared to last year — when he finished second individually in the D-2 final — is his confidence that he can go low and stay there.

He said as a freshman, he never broke 70 in a tournament. But this year, he did it “four or five times.”

Being so close to the individual state title, Ruffino believes he’ll be even more determined as a junior.

“It’s just going to push me to work even harder this summer so I can come back and get the job done,” he said.

Other local All-State honorees:
The MIGCA also selected its All-State teams.

Birmingham Brother Rice senior Nick Dennis was named to the Super Team, which consists of the top golfers from all four divisions across the state.

In D-1, Rice junior Sean Friel received first- team All-State honors, and his junior teammate, Lucas Belanger, is honorable mention.

In D-2, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood junior Griffin Smith was voted first team, as was Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day senior Mike Zausmer in D-3.