STOCKTON — For the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament, the Turlock High girls golfers just wanted to improve from their previous performances. By coach Mary Krupka’s account of that day’s event, aided by damp conditions affecting the golfers’ play, it wasn’t going to be too difficult this time.
So the Bulldogs, loaded with underclassmen, looked to top their Section’s Division I South Tournament score by 20 strokes.
In Monday’s Masters at The Reserve at Spanos Park, Turlock reached that exact mark and finished seventh in a field of 13 teams after carding a 487. Sophomore Hannah Gong led the Bulldogs with a 90, and senior Abby Falke (91) and junior Emma Mendes (93) stayed close behind in the 18-hole event, all underneath clear skies with no strong winds.
Sophomores Kelsi Valenzuela and Zara Lopez notched 104 and 109, respectively, to round out the Bulldogs’ top five scores that counted. Though they didn’t make the Northern California Championship cut, which allowed the top three Section teams to move on, the Bulldogs believe they’ll do just fine next season.
On the individual side, Turlock Christian High’s Kathleen Rojas came up short again. The senior had no birdies and two double bogeys and finished with a 76, just three strokes from being one of the four individuals to advance on.
Her finish is reminiscent of last year’s, when Rojas was one stroke from the next level.
The majority of this year’s Turlock roster will be back next season.
“In terms of next year,” Krupka said, “I think people are going to take notice of our improvement. This season was about taking many baby steps to make some big improvements and I think the hard work is going to show next year.”
The Turlock coach also said the seventh-place finish won’t take anything away from her Bulldogs’ season, one that ended with another undefeated Central California Conference Championship. It doesn’t hurt that the Turlock golfers got to witness teams like St. Francis High of Sacramento, which earned its fifth consecutive Section title after the top five players shot no higher than an 86.
“The gals got to see St. Francis shoot some low individual and team scores on Monday and I think that got my players’ attention and wheels turning,” Krupka said. “I am under the impression that some lofty, but obtainable goals were set. It is nice to have players with the guts and determination to set such goals.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.