Kyle Howard shot a 1-under 36 at the Manteca Park Golf Course on Wednesday afternoon to run away match medalist honors.
Too bad the team victory didn’t come quite as easily.
Manteca High needed every last stroke from Howard to hold off Lathrop, 252-253.
The Buffaloes picked up their second Valley Oak League victory of the season and owe much of the credit to Howard, who distanced himself from Lathrop’s Christian Guzman in the battle of No. 1s.
Howard was the only Manteca player with a score south of 50. His round was highlighted by a tap-in birdie on the par-3 eighth hole after hitting his drive to within a foot of the cup.
“Kyle played a ‘level’ round. The prior match he striped his first three shots and got a little ahead of himself, which led to some careless mistakes,” Manteca coach David Fontanilla said in an email to the Bulletin. “Today he was more focused for each shot and today it paid off with a solid 1-under par.”
Alex Armendariz fired a 51, Josh Keener a 54, Alex Baker a 55 and Jacob Tolbert rounded out the Buffaloes’ scoring with a 56.
Guzman finished with a 5-over 42 to pace the Spartans, who have now lost three VOL matches by six strokes or less.
That effort from the freshman, coupled with Geoff Fallon’s 48 and Sam Fallon’s 50, kept the match close to the very end. Lathrop’s other scorers included: Robert Berndt (56) and Matt Fallon (57).
The Buffaloes look make it a winning streak on April 14 at Kimball.
All wasn’t lost for the tough-luck Spartans, now 3-8 on the season.
Lathrop managed a runaway victory over Sierra in this three-way match, 253-282.
Guzman earned medalist honors for the match-up.
Sierra was led by Matt Rose and David Ketner, who carded a 43 and 47, respectively. Matt Murphy shot a 63, Dillon St. Clair a 64 and Kyle Yousef a 65 for the Timberwolves, playing their second match in as many days.