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, August 21, 2018

Gator golfers play with cool confidence

Xavier Prep’s first golf match of 2018 turned out to be a case of survival of the fittest.

The temperature on Monday (Aug. 20) at the Foothills Golf Club in Ahwatukee hovered near 110 with the humidity at close to 50 percent, which is pretty steamy for Arizona.

Yet the Xavier golfers and those from host Phoenix Desert Vista and Chandler Basha attempted to play as well as they knew how over the nine holes, a tribute to their perseverance.

Some of the Xavier girls had played in a tournament over the weekend in Scottsdale, braving the elements over a full 18 holes, not just nine.

And on Monday, XCP notched its 236th straight match victory dating back to 1996 and 458th overall since the school has been playing. Xavier has won 35 straight state titles under coach and athletic director Sr. Lynn Winsor, including seven in a row.

Winsor and co-head coach Tui Selvaratnam instructed their players to stay hydrated and find as much shade as possible.

Xavier shot a 3-under-par 141, with Desert Vista at 187 and Basha at 248.

Junior Ashley Menne, the two-time defending state individual champion, was the medalist in this one with a 3-under 33. Junior Breyana Matthews was two shots back with a 1-under 35. Sophomore Bailee Tayles was even par at 36. Freshman Ivy Song struggled in the early going, but rebounded nicely for a 1-over 37.

Other Xavier scores: senior Eve Worden at 1-over 37, sophomores Mary Beth Doss and Lauren Garcia at 2-over 38 and senior Emily Cons at 6-over 42.

“Considering the conditions, Coach Tui and I are pleasantly surprised that we were able to get to 3-under,’’ Winsor said. “It was a great day for us. To shoot as well as we did gives you an idea what we are capable of doing when the weather is better.’’

The Gators will be busy later this week. They play their first home match of the season at Phoenix Country Club on Thursday (Aug. 23) against Tempe Corona del Sol and Queen Creek.

Then on Friday (Aug. 24) and Saturday (Aug. 25), it’s on to Tucson for the annual Nighthawk Invitational at the Omni Tucson National Course. That also will be the site of the state tournament for the second straight year.

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