STOCKTON — Johansen High's Christine Uhalde is one step closer to her dream. East Union High golf coach Brian Goulart saw his dream come true Tuesday afternoon.
Uhalde advanced to the CIF Northern California Regional Golf Championships thanks to her 3-over-par 75 at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament at The Reserve at Spanos Park. She was two strokes behind medalists Tiffany Dong and Daniela Okino of team champion St. Francis of Sacramento.
Uhalde will be joined by East Union, which shot a team score of 436 to place third. The Lancers were led by senior Krysta Clark's 2-over 74 and Lindsay Shoot's 79.
The top three teams and top four individuals not on those teams advanced to Monday's NorCal Championships at Corral de Tierra Country Club in Salinas.
Three Stanislaus District individuals had a chance to join Uhalde and East Union. Golden Valley's Belen Hernandez, Enochs' Shawnee Martinez and Bret Harte's Kirsten Locke shot 77s, tying with two other golfers for the final NorCal berth. They went to a playoff that was decided on the first hole when Center's Sagee Palavivatana made a short putt for birdie while everybody else parred.
Goulart and his Lancers were on top of the world.
"I can't remember the last time I've been so excited," he said. "Considering the atmosphere and the conditions, it's the best round we've ever posted."
It was definitely the biggest. The Fresno State-bound Clark was the anchor. Her round was even more amazing considering she's playing with a bruised bone in her right wrist. She played the round with her wrist tightly-wrapped.
"I hurt it about a month ago when I hit some roots," she said. "But I wasn't going to miss today. I didn't think about it, didn't think about my score, and just played."
Clark had her best hole toward the end of her round. On the par-5 No. 16, she reached the green in 2 and just missed an eagle putt.
Meanwhile, Goulart was walking the course, moving between his team's foursomes.
"Just watching their demeanor, I knew they were playing pretty well," he said. "We're just so proud of them."
Uhalde, like Clark, played a steady round. She opened on No. 5 with a birdie, lost ground with a triple bogey on No. 7, then played the remaining 15 holes in 1 over par.
"My main goal is to go to state; I'm one tournament away," she said. "But it's going to be tough. The girls here are good. There, they'll really be good."
It's the first time Uhalde has advanced to NorCals. She's never seen Corral de Tierra, but she's looking at that as a positive.
"It's going to be a new experience," she said. "I'm excited."
Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2300.