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.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Opening win helps golf team set course for success

Sanitized for safety and saunatized due to the hot weather, the Xavier Prep Gators embarked on their new golf journey at Phoenix Country Club on Wednesday (Aug. 26) with a 24-shot victory over Phoenix Horizon in the first competition for an XCP team of any kind this fall.

Other Xavier teams will follow suit in the coming weeks as many students will return to classes at the school on Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day. Students will choose one of three options for their academics, full-time on campus, a split schedule with part-time campus and part-time online, and full-time online as they have been doing.

Xavier has been doing this golf thing for many years and doing it well, and this year’s team certainly appears to be capable of challenging for the school’s 37th state championship.

One of the team leaders is junior Ivy Song, who took medalist honors against Horizon with a 1-under-par 35. But she was not the lowest Gator of the day.

That distinction went to a young freshman who was not among the players who figured into the final team scoring total (this is capable of changing with every match). Perhaps after her 5-under 31, Kyla Layman may come closer to being a front-line fixture.

“Everybody congratulated her (Layman). That’s the sign of a great team to support her the way they supported her,’’ said XCP co-head coach and Athletic Director Sr. Lynn Winsor.

Song is showing the consistency that surfaced in her first two years, particularly as a sophomore.

The other three players contributing to the 148-stroke team total (four of five eligible players score) in this match were sophomore Annie Dawson (even-par 36), senior and Lauren Garcia (2-over 38) and freshman Jayden Jevnick (3-over 39).

Makenna Cabardo (36) was the top finisher for Horizon, which was at 172.

Players moved about the course in the traditional electric golf carts, which normally are not allowed. This rule was relaxed because of the heat, with the temperature eclipsing 110.

Xavier’s girls followed school protocol while preparing to play. They wore masks, although not during their round (before and after). Temperatures were taken when they arrived at the course. The girls had a daily symptom check on their cell phones. Their hands and arms were sanitized.  And, of course, they made certain they had the proper hydration.

“It was a good start, a good beginning for us,’’ Winsor said. “Tui (co-head coach Tui Selvaratnam) and I are very pleased. We played some very good golf under some horrid conditions.’’

Xavier’s next match will be on Monday (Aug. 31) against Glendale Mountain Ridge at the Legend Golf Resort (Glendale Arrowhead). The Gators will return to Phoenix CC on Sept. 2 to face Chandler Basha.

Xavier 148, Horizon 172
*Contributing to team total
Kyla Layman 31, *Ivy Song 35, *Annie Dawson 36, Kalyn Doss 36, Lauren Campbell 36, Mary Beth Doss 38, *Lauren Garcia 38, *Jayden Jevnick 39, Lena Durette 40, Katie Hauptman 42, Kate Ryan 42, Ava Mayberger 43, Audrey Sanchez 43, Grace Rubelsky 45, Karter Nannen 45, Sophie Stamatis 50.

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