While the rest of the Modesto Metro Conference was competing Monday for the right to advance to postseason play, Modesto High senior Fredrik Palmer was playing as if there were no tomorrow.
Palmer's two-under-par 70 at Dryden Park Golf Course was good enough for medalist honors and helped Modesto take second place behind Daniel Covrig-led Johansen and in the team race.
Those two teams and the six best scores not on the Vikings or Panthers squads qualified for Monday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South championships at Creekside.
But Palmer won't be there.
As he tapped in for bogey on his final hole Monday, confident that his score would be good enough to claim medalist honors, he knew it was the last stroke he'd be playing as a member of the Modesto High golf team.
While his Panther teammates battle at Creekside on Monday, Palmer will be taking an International Baccalaureate English examination.
"I knew I wasn't going to be playing in the sub-sections and I knew Daniel already had the MMC most valuable player award wrapped up, unless he went out and shot 90 today," Palmer said. "I just wanted to play well for the last 18 holes of my high school career."
His round included five birdies, a bogey at the par-3 17th (the group's finishing hole) and a double-bogey at the 11th, a hole on which his entire foursome carded six or worse.
"Even had I shot a 79 today, I have other good rounds I could have looked back on," Palmer said. "I remember going to sub-sections my sophomore year and setting the goal of making it to the section tournament my junior year, then make it even further as a senior. I didn't know about the IB tests."
His junior season ended in exactly the same manner. Palmer was MMC co-medalist last year, but missed the South championships because of an IB psychology test. According to the rules of the IB program, test times and dates cannot be rescheduled. And according to section rules, a player who does not play at the section regional event cannot be placed in the field for the masters' level.
The top MMC player going on to Creekside will be Covrig, who was named the MMC's MVP to break Palmer's two-year hold on the honor. Covrig and Palmer played together at Dryden, and both played well on the front before faltering on the back. Palmer had three birdies to make the turn in 33, while Covrig turned in 35 en route to a 75.
Ryan May, also of Johansen, had a 76 as the Vikings easily claimed the team title with a 403 total, 32 strokes ahead of Modesto. Beyer was third at 462 and was followed by Enochs (466,) Downey (472) and Davis (492.)
"I went out there just trying to focus on myself," Palmer said. "But I'm watching him and he's watching me, and we're exchanging birdies out there on 13 and 14 after we both doubled 11, so I guess the game is still there."
Palmer's game will be slowed the next few weeks as he finishes the classroom side of his Modesto High career with six IB exams and one advanced placement exam. After a full slate of summer tournaments, he will be attending UC San Diego this fall and plans on walking on to the Division II school's golf team.
"I'll probably not play much golf in May and cruise along on this bit of a high from winning this one," Palmer said.
For complete results, see the scoreboard, Page C-4.
Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2300.