State

Johansen's Uhalde shares medalist honors at Division I South Section Tournament

LODI -- When Christina Uhalde played a practice round at Lockeford Springs Golf Course last week, she shot a 75.

The low score gave the junior at Johansen High confidence as she headed into the real thing.

Monday, when the score really counted, she shot the same -- a 3-over-par 75 -- to share medalist honors at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South Championship on a 5,542-yard layout.

"I didn't really know the course until the practice round," Uhalde said. "It's a shorter course, and the greens really undulate. I putted pretty well. That was the key."

Lodi won the team title with a score of 454. It was joined by St. Mary's of Stockton and Tokay of Lodi as the three teams to advance to next week's Section Masters Tournament at The Reserve at Spanos Park. Uhalde led a group of six individuals -- all from the Stanislaus District -- who advanced.

The other five local qualifiers were Turlock's Spencer Heller (76), Enochs' Shawnee Martinez (78), Golden Valley's Belen Hernandez (78), Beyer's Kayla Grey (85) and Johansen's Laura Arellano (87).

Uhalde started on the 10th hole and played the back nine in even par. She opened her round with seven consecutive pars.

"I was feeling pretty good," she said. "I'm pretty happy with my round. I had a couple of three-putts out there, but that's going to happen with the greens on this course."

Heller had a poor start, then spent much of her day catching up.

"Three bogeys in a row in my first three holes," Heller said. "It's a tough way to start, but I just had to put it behind me. I didn't think about it."

Heller closed her back nine with a birdie on the 402-yard par-5 No. 18 hole. The highlight of that hole was her approach chip to within seven feet of the hole, then making the putt.

Martinez, a freshman and the first Enochs golfer to advance to the Section Masters Tournament, saw two courses in her two rounds here.

"I practiced out here on Saturday, and the pin placements were pretty easy," Martinez said. "Then today, they were a lot tougher."

Martinez opened on the ninth hole and played the back nine in 5-over 41. That, she said, put her in jeopardy of not making the cut to masters.

"I told myself I wasn't done yet," she said. "I played a lot better on the front."

Her best shot came on the 114-yard par-3 No. 3 hole, where her 9-iron landed behind the flag, then rolled down the hill to about a foot from the hole.

Like most of the district golfers, Martinez didn't know much about Spanos Park.

"I'll go out there and practice, and we'll see what it's like," she said.

Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at wdeboard@modbee.com or 578-2300.

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