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Toe to toe: Cardoza meets Zolezzi
Daniel Cardoza tees off on one. Cardoza finished tied with a round-best 41. - photo by BRANDON PETERSEN

RIPON — No one ever accused Daniel Cardoza of backing down from a challenge.

Thursday at Spring Creek Country Club, Ripon’s No. 1 golfer decided to play in the No. 5 position to take on Escalon’s best, Adam Zolezzi.

Although Escalon wrapped up an expected regular season TVL title with a 212-232 win, Cardoza finished tied atop the leaderboard with a 41 and beat Zolezzi by a stroke.

“You have to give Daniel credit,” Ripon head coach Chris Musseman said. “He asked to play against their best golfer. There was added pressure, but he needs to play against the best golfers in the league.

“He’s been a force for us all year.”

Donavon Gardner and Jimmy Morris also finished with 41s for the Cougars, who finished without a over-50 round.

Jake Ratto shot a 43 for Ripon, and Josh Richter had a 44.

Mark Bigelow finished with a 50, and Matty Gay had a 54.

“There are positives to take out of it,” Musseman said. “We have everyone back next year, and its good for them to see what a good golf team will do when the pressure is on.”

If Ripon beats Riverbank and Hughson at the TVL tournament Tuesday at Don Pedro, the Indians almost assured of moving on to the divisional round.

Sierra 205, Manteca 253

Miguel Dominguez led another phenomenal team round for the Timberwolves in the win Thursday at Manteca Park.

Dominguez finished with a 2-over-par 38, while Luis Zepeda shot a 39, Sammy Matts carded a 42 and both Paul Michaleto and Michael Hajenga shot 43.

Joey Matts was saddled with the throw-out, a 44.

Kenny Summers led Manteca with a 43.

Jarred Woolf had a 49, Nick Gonzales a 52, Casey Benson a 53, Jeremy Resuello a 56 and Tyler Canady a 57.

The VOL Tournament begins Monday at 9 a.m. at Lockeford Springs.

 — Brandon Petersen