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Lathrops Guzman is MVP of VOL
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Disappointment weighed on the mind of Christian Guzman as he walked off the 18th green at Saddle Creek Golf Club.

He salvaged a double bogey with a single putt on the 506-yard par-five hole, which started badly for him. He had to dig himself out of two bunkers and needed two chips just to get onto the green.

“I wasn’t feeling too good after that,” Guzman said. “I wasn’t too happy with that last hole.”

The Lathrop High freshman was understandably in a lighter mood on the ride home.

Guzman finished in a two-way tie for second place with a 5-over-par 77 in the Valley Oak League Championships, and he edged out Central Catholic’s Tyler Ward — who carded a 78 — to become the first golfer at his school to earn the Most Valuable Player honor for topping all others in the season-long point standings.

Ward led Guzman by a point heading into the VOL tournament. Medalist Matt Robinson of Central Catholic was the only player to finish in the red with an impressive 70.

Guzman birdied the par five third hole and finished 2 over on the front nine and 3 over on the back side.

“I didn’t expect to contend this year but it was pretty nice,” Guzman said. “I had some pretty tough competition that really gave me a challenge.”

The top three teams — Central Catholic (384), Oakdale (447), East Union (474) — and six individuals qualify for next Monday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Tournament at Ancil Hoffman Golf Course in Sacramento.

Guzman won’t be the only Spartan to participate at divisionals, as Geoff Fallon (96) also made the cut. As a team, Lathrop scored a 524 for a fourth-place finish. Sam Fallon (101), Nick Berndt (119), Matt Fallon (131) and Robby Horrocks (131) also competed for Lathrop.

“Very proud of the guys,” Lathrop coach Cesar Fernandez said. “They really worked hard during the season. Christian really pulled the team together. He’s our first league MVP for Lathrop High School and he’s put us on the map as far golf.”

Others qualifying for the divisional tournament: Sierra’s Matt Rose (88), Chris and Reese Maxfield (82, 83) of Kimball and Weston Ranch’s Austin Thao (107). Manteca’s Kyle Howard finished with an 89 but just missed the cut for the section event.

East Union had just five of its top six play Tuesday: Trevor Baum (86), Michael Lozano (87), Clayton Dorland (94), Manuel Telles (101) and Ezra Lendhardt (106).

Sierra’s David Ketner (106) and Dillon St. Clair (107), Manteca’s Ray Gallardo (118) and Weston Ranch’s Javier Gomez (106) were other Manteca-area golfers who competed.