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Guzman becomes 1st Lathrop golfer to reach NorCals
GLF--SJS Masters Tourney file pic
Lathrop Highs Christian Guzman qualified for the CIF Northern California Championships after carding a 72 and surviving two playoff holds in the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament on Monday. - photo by WAYNE THALLANDER/The Bulletin

STOCKTON — Christian Guzman wasn’t entirely pleased with his effort at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament on Monday.

“Not really,” the Lathrop junior deadpanned. “I guess it was good enough.”

And how did he initially feel about becoming his school’s first-ever CIF Northern California Championships qualifier?

“I knew I was going to make it, but honestly I didn’t really feel a lot of emotion,” he said. 

His unflappable demeanor is what helped him reach this historic feat at The Reserve at Spanos Park. Guzman’s practice time in the days leading up were limited after he came down with the flu late last week, and on Monday he bogeyed holes 4 and 5 — his last two of the tournament — to settle for an even-par 72 that dropped him into a four-way playoff for the final three individual berths to NorCals. 

Lodi’s Justin Gums already had his ticket punched with a 68, which was good for individual medalist honors. Matt Sutherland (Rio Americano), Kevin Huff (Vista del Lago) and Mitchell Menzes (Bret Harte) joined Guzman on the ninth hole. Sutherland parred the hole while the rest bogeyed. Guzman and Huff each parred the 10th, leaving Menzes, who bogeyed, as the odd man out.

“I was hitting the worst shots in the playoff holes,” Guzman said. “I guess I just grinded it out and somehow made it happen.

“I was a bit weak (from the illness) coming in but it didn’t really affect me much,” he added. “I was hitting the ball straight and chipping was my only problem today. Other than that, I think I’m playing pretty solid right now.”

Davis narrowly won the team title with a 382, beating Oak Ridge by tiebreaker. Jesuit took third with a 384.

SJS Division VI champion Ripon Christian did not record a team score with two players getting disqualified. Danton Indelicato paced the Knights with a 91.

The NorCal tournament takes place next Monday, May 22 at Sierra View Country Club in Roseville. The top nine individuals who are not part of the three qualifying teams move onto the state tourney May 31 at Poppy Hills in Pebble Beach.

“I’m actually pretty proud of myself,” Guzman said. “It will be my first time at that course so I just hope to hit it decent and not embarrass myself. If I can shoot somewhere around par that may help me make it to state.”