High School Golf: GV's Hernandez shoots low score at D-I tourney

Belen Hernandez's golf swing is a work in progress, every day.

"My swing's always changing, nearly every round," said the Golden Valley High junior. "It's something I'm always working on."

At Monday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South Girls Golf Championship, her swing was working just fine.

Hernandez rode two birdies and two bogeys to an even-par 72 at Creekside Golf Course, earning medalist honors in the field of 78. She held off runner-up Kercia Brakel of Lodi, who was in the same foursome, by two strokes.

Hernandez leads three teams and six individuals not on those teams to the Section Masters Tournament next Monday at Auburn Country Club.

Other Stanislaus District highlights:

• Turlock won the team title behind Emily Szabo's 76 and Spencer Heller's 83. "Our goal was to qualify," Turlock coach Mary Krupka said. "To come out here and win it just says a lot about this team."

• Johansen shot a team score of 469 to place third, good enough for the entire team to move on to Auburn. Allyssa Pena shot a 75 and Christine Uhalde a 78 as the Vikings were the only team to have two players shoot in the 70s.

• Beyer senior Katie Canadas shot a 77 to qualify as an individual. Atwater's Jackie Zdanowski shot an 85 -- also good enough to qualify for Auburn.

Hernandez closed her day with two pars, putting the final touch on a round of two birdies, two bogeys and 14 pars.

"I felt I was pretty consistent throughout the day," Hernandez said. "I knew this course well enough. I came in here pretty confident.

"I felt I was going to be able to do enough to qualify. Winning is pretty nice, too."

Krupka said the same about her Turlock team.

"We thought it was going to be pretty tough to get the top three," she said, "but our top two girls -- Emily and Spencer -- they really set the tone for this team.

"Plus, we've got great depth. All of the girls really came through."

Krupka looked at the blue banner given to all section champions.

"I can't wait to see this get put up in our gym," she said. "This is a great feeling."

Pena said she had a great homecourse advantage, playing at Creekside.

"We play here all the time for league and at tournaments," she said. "I was feeling pretty confident because I feel pretty comfortable out here."

Her 75 was the third-best score of the tournament, behind only Hernandez and Brakel.

Moments after Pena turned in her score, her teammate Uhalde checked in with a 78. Their scores were good enough to send Johansen to Auburn.

"I was happiest that our entire team is going to Masters," Pena said. "Everyone played well, that's what we needed."

Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at or 578-2300.