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.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Golf opponents learn that Gators are tough

A young man who was helping to post scores on the leaderboard for Thursday’s (Sept. 7) Aguila Invitational looked at Xavier Prep’s low total and said, “I’ve got to get over to Xavier and learn how to play golf.’’

Sorry, son, you’re not eligible and if you were, it likely would take a Herculean effort to surpass the golfers already in place.

The numbers spoke for themselves.

Bolstered by an impressive 10-under-par 62 from sophomore Ashley Menne, the Gators finished with a victorious 11-under 277, 17 shots ahead of second place Mesa Red Mountain (294) and 19 ahead of third place Goodyear Millennium (296).

Menne was five shots better than second-place finisher Kelly Su of Scottsdale Chaparral (67). Su and Menne finished 1-2 at the recent Antigua Invitational.

“We played great today,’’ said Xavier co-coach Tui Selvaratnam. “Ashley had maybe the round of her life. As a team, we have great camaraderie, which is nice to see. And the parents really come out to support the girls. It’s a lot of fun.’’

With Menne and sophomore Millburn Ho (75) sinking mid-range putts to finish their day, a gallery of Xavier teammates and parents shouted their approval from the edge of the 18th green. Ho, who is showing continued improvement, birdied her last two holes.

“This should help give us some momentum because our schedule will continue to be busy,’’ Selvaratnam said.

There were no bunker shots allowed in the tournament due to recent monsoon damage. So the golfers were able to take a drop closest to the spot where the ball went in. Selvaratnam said that Menne only had to do that once.

The Gators next will play host to Phoenix Pinnacle on Wednesday (Sept. 13) at Phoenix Country Club, with a 3 p.m. start time.

Xavier individual scores

1 Ashley Menne (So.), 62 (-10). Tie-4 Breyana Matthews, (Fr.) 69 (-3). Tie-11 Eve Worden (Jr.), 72 (E). Tie-15 Lauren Garcia (Fr.), 74 (+2). 17 Millburn Ho (So.) 75 (+3).

Team scores

Xavier Prep 277, Mesa Red Mountain 294, Goodyear Millennium 296, Phoenix Pinnacle 308, Chandler Hamilton 308, Phoenix Horizon 322, Scottsdale Chaparral 322, Gilbert Highland 322, Phoenix Desert Vista 329, Mesa Desert Ridge 331, Scottsdale Desert Mountain 352, Gilbert Perry 354, Queen Creek Casteel 378, Phoenix Arcadia 379, Tempe Corona del Sol 380, Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor 395, Chandler High 415, Phoenix Mountain Pointe 420, Chandler Basha 459, Glendale Mountain Ridge 473.

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