At Monday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South Championships at Brookside Country Club in Stockton, the Turlock High boys golf team ran into some bad luck again.
For the second consecutive season, the Bulldogs had a score disqualified in the postseason, giving them an unwanted finish. This time, Tyler Gomes was flagged by tournament officials for having an incorrect score. He signed off a scorecard that said he shot an 81, which was enough to give the Bulldogs a team tally of 410 and first place.
But after the final scores were posted, Turlock coach Ben Culala said, players within Gomes’ playing group complained and said that he shot a 7, not a 6, on hole No. 9. Culala argued for 45 minutes with officials.
After officials threw out Gomes’ score and picked up Turlock’s next best score — a 97 — the Bulldogs’ new team score was 426, tying them with Tracy High for the day’s second-best score. Ultimately, it gave Johansen High — which had the top scorer in Daniel Covrig, who shot a 3-under 69 despite strong winds all day — the team title after carding a 421.
Undoubtedly, the conclusion of the tournament upset the Bulldogs, who despite all the controversy, qualified for Monday’s Masters Tournament at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton, a feat they’ve done for six of the past seven seasons.
Last season, the Bulldogs also went through the same ordeal after a player turned in an incorrect scorecard in the postseason.
On Monday, Paul Smith and Jeffery Chapman led the Bulldogs with an 80 each, followed by Travis Souza’s 82, Taylor Sellers’ 87 and Eric Wetzel’s 97.
“They got something to prove now,” Culala said. “They knew they were the best team in that place.”
Pitman’s Bennett turns in notable day
Also on Monday, Pitman High’s Troy Bennett shot a 77 to secure the top individual spot at the Masters Tournament after his standout performance at the division tournament.
He became the Pride’s first individual Masters qualifier in five years.
Bennett started the first nine holes with +5, but was determined to “set a new goal: Finishing even on the back nine,” said his coach, Matt Jeans. “The most exciting part of his round was the back nine. He birdied 14, 16, 17 and 18. After that stretch of birdies, he felt confident that his score would be enough to advance.”
His goal now at the Masters, Jeans said, is to “shoot low- to mid-70s, have fun and enjoy the round.”
Hilmar’s season ends
The Hilmar High boys golf team concluded an impressive season after shooting a 483 at the SJS Division V Tournament at the La Contenta Golf Club in Valley Springs on Monday, finishing fourth.
Jesminder Singh led the Yellowjackets with a 91, followed by Zack Ribera (93), Raine Martinez (97), Eric Youngberg (98), Jonathan O’Brien (104) and Taylor Bettencourt (112).
Hilmar finished undefeated in Western Athletic Conference and overall play, also with a league team title.
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