Central Catholic, East Union and Oakdale boast the most accomplished boys golf programs in the Valley Oak League, but the player all others are chasing represents none of those schools.
Lathrop High freshman Christian Guzman secured his lead atop the individual standings with his medalist performance Tuesday, shooting a 2-over-par 39 on the front nine of Manteca Park Golf Course on Tuesday. East Union won the league dual 216-247, but Lathrop head coach Cesar Fernandez has a good reason to be excited going into next Tuesday’s VOL Tournament at Saddle Creek Golf Resort.
For one, it will be Lathrop’s first-ever team appearance at the tournament. The Spartans rounded out the regular season Tuesday with a 5-9 record, good enough to take the fifth and final available league tournament berth.
And Lathrop appears to be peaking at just the right time. As a team it carded its best-ever score at Manteca Park.
“It was close until the last group came in,” Fernandez said. “But I’m happy with the progress the team is making. Three of our guys shot their best scores there today.”
Guzman being one of them. He’ll look to continue the momentum at league, where he will have to stave off many talented golfers to come up with the MVP award. He was medalist in nine of Lathrop’s 14 regular-season dual matches.
“He didn’t know what to expect, and I told him before the season that he’s going to be able to compete with these guys,” Fernandez said. “As long as he plays his game and stays within himself he’ll be fine. He’s starting to come on and is hitting the ball much better now than he did at the beginning of the year.”
Brothers Sam and Matt Fallon turned in a 47 and 50, respectively, both personal records at the course. Geoff Fallon finished with a 52, and Robert Berndt had a 59.
East Union (10-3) was paced by co-runners up Trevor Baum and Michael Lozano. Manuel Telles (42), Ezra Lendhardt (45) and Clayton Dorland (49) followed. The Lancers aim to finish the regular season in a second-place tie with Oakdale on Thursday when they play host to the Mustangs.
Central Catholic 182, Sierra 241
At Dryden Park Golf Course, first-place Central Catholic carded an impressive score behind even-par efforts from Nick O’Brien and Matthew Robinson.
Sierra (3-11) was anchored by its two league qualifiers; Matt Rose finished checked in with a 48 and David Ketner added a 44. Kyle Yousef (49), Evan Brazell (51) and Jackie Thai (59) contributed to the score.
Ripon Christian 182,
The Knights (7-0) had tri-medalists at Jack Tone Golf Course, where reigning Manteca Bulletin Golfer of the Year Kyle Colyn, Andrew Manes and Rian Koetsier each finished 2-over 33. Drew Baker posted a 39, and Jesse DeRousse rounded out RC’s score with a 44.