Bautista had very little experience in the sport when she joined Jesse Rodriguez’s team at Lathrop as a freshman.
Now, she’s the top player for a senior-heavy team that has title and postseason aspirations. Last Wednesday, Sept. 15, she set a personal and program record at Manteca Park Golf Course with a 3-over-par 39 in a four-team match against Western Athletic Conference foes Grace Davis, Johansen and Los Banos. Bautista’s card consisted of six pars and three bogeys. Her previous best at the course is a 44.
“She has come a long way,” Rodriguez said. “She could always hit the ball when she first started, but then she started getting the nuances of the game down — chipping, putting, hitting the ball for distance, club usage. She has a pretty good handle for what she wants to do with the ball now.”
Bautista is a reigning conference MVP, earning the distinction over the pandemic-shortened spring season. The WAC was split up into two divisions, and she was voted by coaches as the top player for the North.
While she has achieved some unprecedented individual success for the team, her goal is share the glory with her teammates. She was one of three Spartans to qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Tournament two years ago, but now they’re positioned to do so as a team — possibly as the WAC’s champion.
Lathrop entered this week with a 5-1 league record (6-1 overall). The top three teams in the WAC qualify for the SJS divisionals. Bautista would likely need another career-best effort there to become her school’s first female qualifier to the SJS Masters. She is one of Lathrop’s three four-year players.
“Some of those girls can throw crazy numbers up there, but she is more focused on the team,” Rodriguez said. “She is trying to make her teammates better. Her first goal is to get the whole team to make it to divisionals.”