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Turlock's Smith fourth at NorCal golf tourney

Sam Smith didn't golf well Monday, in his estimation. He said he didn't strike the ball well and wasn't comfortable on the greens at Richmond Country Club.

It shows how good the Turlock High junior is that he still managed a 2-over 72 and fourth-place finish in the CIF Northern California Regional Championship.

As bad as Smith played, in his mind, he'll have one more chance to play this season, in the State Championship tournament June 3 at Santa Maria Country Club.

"I'm glad I made it. It was an accomplishment I wanted to achieve this year," Smith said. "It's a little bittersweet. It was a battle on every shot."

And people noticed Smith.

"The thing that's impressive, everybody up there in that tournament knows who Sam is. That's just really nice," Turlock coach Ben Culala said. "He's the last guy standing in the Stanislaus District again."

Smith had two birdies and four bogeys, and Culala said Smith announced his presence with his tee shot on his first hole, the only water hole on the course. Playing 340 yards, Culala said Smith blasted his drive 330 yards, playing a draw around a palm tree that ordinarily prevents such shots.

Said Culala, "That kind of said, 'I'm here; let's go.' "

But Smith had trouble on the greens, as did the field. Smith said the greens weren't "true." He said a putt that looked like it would go left was questionable as to whether it actually would.

Daniel Semmler of Carlmont was the medalist with a 2-under 68, and Rocklin shot a 369 to win the team championship by two strokes over Cardinal Newman. Bobby Park of Los Banos shot a 75.

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