TURLOCK — The girls who took part in the 2012 Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 South Tournament rejoiced over Monday's weather at Turlock Country Club.
Sunny. 82 degrees. Windless. Perfect. Simply, a 180-degree flip over last year.
Enochs High sophomore Alyse Padilla recalled the cold, wind and rain last year at Lockeford Springs. She was one of many who couldn't finish, walking in with a few holes left.
"I couldn't even feel my hands," Padilla recalled, "and I had gloves on."
One year later, Padilla basked in ideal conditions and this time her grip on the club did not waver.
Padilla posted an 85, the day's second-best overall score in the field of 78 behind only the 80 by Lodi senior Victoria Reiner. The Enochs star earned one of the six individual qualifying berths for the Section Masters next Monday at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton.
"I wasn't that nervous, but I was worried about my putting," said Padilla, who anchored Enochs' run to its fourth Modesto Metro Conference title in the last five years. "I know I'll be nervous next week."
Padilla shows promise with tee shots that sometimes reach 250 yards. Consistency will be her future goal. Back-to-back double bogeys at the par-3 15th and par-5 16th kept her out of the low 80s.
She and her Enochs teammates totaled 507, placed fourth and missed a playoff for a team Masters berth by 13 strokes. Central California Conference champion Turlock (493) captured second, one stroke ahead of Merced. Both CCC powers will join divisional champion Lodi at The Reserve.
Turlock and Merced have waged a tight battle all season. Turlock annexed its 10th consecutive CCC title, though Merced won one of the head-to-head duals. All season long including the league midseason tournament, the CCC finals and Monday the Bulldogs topped the Bears by only eight strokes.
The one-stroke margin at the divisional again demonstrated the razor-thin difference between the teams.
"We sneaked by," Turlock coach Mary Krupka said. "Both teams grind it out. It's scary that they're so focused. Both are working toward the same goal."
Buhach Colony senior Heather Parker (90) will reach Masters for the second year in a row. Also advancing are Pitman teammates Jasmine Ryan (93) and Taylor Beckwith (94).
D-4 East Union, anchored by a 77 by sophomore Brooke Riley, captured its seventh blue banner emblematic of the section divisional title in the last eight years. The Lancers, Valley Oak League champions the last eight years, finished nine strokes ahead of runner-up Vista Del Lago at Diablo Grande's Ranch course. Both teams advanced to Masters.
Central Catholic, led by a 95 by Emily Raspo, was third, followed by Sierra in fourth, Ceres in sixth, Sonora in seventh and Livingston in eighth.
The medalist was Vista Del Lago sophomore Emilee Hoffman with a fine 1-under 71.
D-5 Sienna Starck recorded an 89, the day's third-best score, and led Ripon to the Division 5 title at Micke Grove in Lodi. Only the Indians qualified for the Masters from the D-5 tournament.
Runner-up Escalon finished 29 strokes behind Ripon, but the Cougars will send junior Piper Rockell to the Masters. She shot a 90 to nail down one of the three individual qualifying berths.
Calaveras' Taylor Robinson turned in a 92, fifth on the overall list. Hilmar finished fourth in the team standings after Makena Azevedo's 93. Mary Lambert of Hughson had a 95 as the Huskies placed fifth.
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2302. Follow Ron via Twitter, @modbeesports.
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