DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Nothing stops Gators as they win another golf title

Not a blustery wind, a lightning threat and hey, we will even throw in an earthquake – can stop the Xavier Prep golf team.
The Gators were at their best once again on the big stage, Monday (Nov. 2) and again on Tuesday (Nov. 3), just like XCP teams had been 32 times before.
Xavier won the 33rd Division I golf championship in school history and fifth in a row as senior Alisa Snyder earned medalist honors and two of her teammates finished in the top 10.
XCP finished with a 4-over-par 580 over the par-72 layout at the Aguila Golf Course in Laveen. The closest team to the Gators was Goodyear Millennium, with 625. Tucson Salpointe Catholic was third at 632.

Xavier's Gators celebrate another golf title (photo by Sr. Lynn Winsor).
“It never gets old,’’ said Sr. Lynn Winsor, who presided as coach over all of the 33 title teams and is the XCP athletic director. “To bring 11 kids up and have them do what they did – we had five players in the tournament but it was 11 all year – was a great accomplishment. Everybody pushed each other.’’
“We are proud of all the girls,’’ said co-coach Tui Selvaratnam.
Winsor said the “competition was thicker this year,’’ meaning the Gators could not afford to daydream, not even for a moment.
Snyder shared the lead with teammate Emily Mahar, a junior, with a 4-under 68 in the first round.
The second round was nearly as consistent for Snyder. The left-hander shot 69 to finish at 137, 7 under par. Scottsdale Chaparral’s Kelly Su was second at 139.
Mahar finished third at 141 and Millennium’s Emily Smith was the only other player to come in under par with a 143.
XCP senior Mikayla Fitzpatrick was eighth at 149. Junior Lily Worden was at 153, and junior Elizabeth Calderelli was at 160.
Snyder had five birdies and a bogey in the first round a four birdies and a bogey in the final round.
“My short game was really good,’’ Snyder said. “I knew I could rely on that if I got into trouble.’’
The wind appeared to pick up on the back nine, but Snyder said it wasn’t too bad.
“I’ve played in enough wind to know which clubs to use and how many I’m going to need,’’ she said.
The wind brought in some dark clouds. One tournament official spotted lightning, which caused a delay of about 15 minutes.
Snyder, on the 17th hole at the time, said she wasn’t worried.
“It (the break) allowed me to focus on what I needed to do,’’ she said.
Snyder said she didn’t make the Xavier team as a freshman, finished 11th in the state as a sophomore and third as a junior in 2014.
Selvaratnam has closely viewed Snyder’s progress over the years.
“Alisa’s maturity and strength showed out there, especially today (Tuesday),’’ Selvaratnam said. “It allowed her to keep it together when it mattered.’’
Now Snyder can reflect on her accomplishments before going on to play for the University of Michigan.
“It’s so nice to be able to follow Madison (Kerley, last year’s winner) and Hannah (O’Sullivan, the medalist in 2013),’’ Snyder said. “It’s great to be able to keep the tradition going. It is really humbling.’’

Division I team scores
Xavier Prep 580, Goodyear Millennium 625, Tucson Salpointe Catholic 632, Scottsdale Chaparral 650, Chandler Hamilton 661, Phoenix Pinnacle 679, Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep 682, Phoenix Horizon 695, Phoenix Desert Vista 700, Mesa Red Mountain 704, Tempe Corona del Sol 709, Mesa Desert Ridge 726, Gilbert Perry 764.

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