The Turlock and Pitman High girls golf teams are used to teeing off in the fall, but their pandemic-shortened season is instead underway this spring with two matches already under their belts.
Five of the six Central California Athletic League schools hit the fairways at Turlock Golf and Country Club on Monday for the only 18-hole tournament of the season, which saw the Bulldogs finish in second place with a team score of 489. Enochs High won the tournament and shot 456 as a team, while Gregori High finished third with a score of 490. Pitman earned fourth place and had a team score of 561, followed by Downey in fifth place with a 565 score. Modesto High did not participate in the tournament due to a lack of players.
For Turlock head coach Mary Krupka, the second-place finish for her team was a sign of improvement. The Bulldogs have finished third in CCAL play for the last two years, but are now showing signs of becoming the second-strongest team in the league. The Bulldogs also played a nine-hole match at Dryden Park Golf Course on Feb. 17 where they beat both Modesto and Gregori — the latter of which has consistently earned second place in league play in recent years.
On Monday, Turlock finished ahead of Gregori by one stroke.
“For team goals, that was a big one to scratch off. I didn’t want to be third anymore,” Krupka said. “We showed the improvement and we’ve beaten Gregori twice now, so we’re the second-place team now it looks like.”
The Bulldogs were led by freshman Sydney Streeter, who shot an 81 and tied for second overall.
Pitman senior Isabelle Rodrigues had the lowest score of the day for the Pride, shooting a 94. She’s one of two seniors who will graduate this year, Pitman head coach George Santos said, and is looking for another successful season after making the playoffs last year. The Pride’s first match of the year Feb. 17 at Creekside Golf Course saw the team finish in second place, behind Enochs but ahead of Downey. The team was led by Monet Sayadian, who shot a 42 during the nine-hole match.
Although there will be no playoffs or championship tournaments at the end of this season, Santos is glad to see his team back on the course — even if things look a little bit different. Players weren’t allowed to remove the flagstick from any of the holes while putting, nor could they use the rakes in the sand traps. Masks were a must, and teams like Turlock and Pitman who practice on the same course were required to warm up on the practice putting green together, away from the other teams.
“I’m just excited that the girls are out there doing something,” Santos said. “It’s all about making sure they're having fun, enjoying themselves and taking the opportunity to get out of the house and away from the computer where they can enjoy the sunshine and other people.”
Pitman’s next match is against Modesto and Gregori at 1:30 p.m. March 3 at Dryden, and Turlock will compete against Enochs and Downey at 1:30 p.m. March 3 at Creekside.