The Johansen High girls golf team saw two of its players card the best scores in the Vikings' important match against Modesto on Thursday afternoon.
But the Panthers' superior depth was more than enough to counter.
Modesto sophomore Andrea Custer fired a 48 -- the team's fifth golfer Whitney Davis was only seven strokes behind that -- as the Panthers beat Johansen 260-273 at Modesto Municipal Golf Course.
The victory means Modesto (12-2) pulled into a tie for first place with Johansen (12-2) atop the Modesto Metro Conference standings. The teams each have one more match before the MMC Tournament next Thursday at Creekside Golf Course.
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Custer said her team's been steadily improving through the season. Modesto lost by 31 strokes to Johansen in their first match, and by nine in the second.
"Top to bottom we've been pretty consistent," she said. "The last couple of weeks, we're all in the 40s or low 50s."
Johansen's Allyssa Pena fired a 42, followed by teammate Christine Uhalde's 45. Modesto got a 50 from sophomore Summer Uhrik, a 53 from Lauren Goldeen and a 54 from Megan Dahlin.
Custer knew she was in for a good round from the beginning. She parred the 406-yard, par-5 first hole, and was off to the races.
"Everything just felt good," Custer said.
Just as happy was Panthers head coach Paul Abby.
"This is a classic example of a high school team," he said. "The girls have improved throughout the season. It's a good group of consistent players."
Now, each side moves on to the MMC Tournament at Creekside.
Uhalde, Pena and Beyer's Katie Canadas are among the top individuals.
Beyer could also challenge for the team title. Like the Panthers, the Patriots have steadily improved.
"We'll see what happens there," Abby said. "Hopefully the girls can keep this play going."
Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2300.