Patterson golfers Sarah Sanchez and Veronica Benitez closed their campaign with strong efforts on a rainy, blustery afternoon at Elkhorn Golf and Country Club in Stockton.
Though neither advanced to the Masters round of the postseason, Patterson coach Jason Oliveira was proud of their performances.
“Weather conditions were much less than ideal, as the girls had to brave a driving rain and gusty winds throughout their seven-hour round at Elkhorn,” Oliveira said. “The seven hours included a 30-minute suspension of play due to heavy rains.”
Strong winds and a chilly downpour made for difficult playing conditions on the par-72 course. Still, Sanchez, a junior, came away with a score of 125, enough for a 12th-place finish in the field of 60. Benitez, a senior, capped her season with a round of 145.
”The girls showed their true competitive spirit today,” Oliveira said. “It would have been very easy to tap out in today’s conditions and throw in the towel, but both fought through it, and I am very proud of how they represented themselves, our program and Patterson High School.”
Sanchez — a veteran of postseason play having reached the Division IV tournament for a second straight season — battled valiantly against the section’s top golfers, Oliveira said.
“I am very proud of Sarah for how hard she has worked throughout the season,” Oliveira said. “Golf is a game you have to work at in order to excel, and she has dedicated herself and put in the time necessary to refine different aspects of her game.”
The Division IV tournament marked the end of Benitez’s run on the Tigers’ golf team.
“I am also very happy for Veronica,” Oliveira said. “Qualifying for the section tournament is a fitting accomplishment for her third and final season of golf.”
Western Athletic Conference Championship
Sanchez and Benitez reached the section tournament by placing among the lowest six scores on a nonqualifying team at the WAC championship Oct. 17 on Diablo Grande’s Ranch course.
Patterson High finished fifth in the final league standings and missed the Division IV team playoffs.
Both Patterson golfers were in the familiar surroundings of their home course for last week’s event. Sanchez had a score of 102 and Benitez 118 on the par-72 course.
“Sarah fired the fourth-best round of the day, cementing herself a position on the first-team all-conference team,” Oliveira said. “Her round was outstanding. Her knowledge of the course played a huge factor in her approach, and her short game and putting kept her in the hunt for medalist honors, although she fell just short.”
Emily Raspo of Central Catholic (92), Caitlin Pfaff of Ceres High (97) and Courtney Kim of Central Catholic (101) were the top individual finishers.
Central Catholic High of Modesto won the championship with a 407, and were followed by Livingston High (450), Ceres High (462), Central Valley High of Ceres (464) and Patterson (490).
Patterson High junior Dayna Hansen finished the match with a 130, and Simone Grice fired a round of 140 for Patterson.
“All in all, this season was a success,” Oliveira said. “I would like to have some more girls out playing, and we can work on that, but I am very proud of the four who contributed and how we improved over the course of the season.”