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, October 27, 2020

Gator golf stops Pinnacle, climbs back to the top

 Xavier Prep’s Gators are back where they belong.

They are on top of the Arizona golf mountain, and the view is great!

For an amazing 37th time in the school’s storied history!

After finishing second to Phoenix Pinnacle a year ago, the Gators came back to withstand a big rally by Pinnacle in Tuesday’s (Oct. 27) second round for a 3-shot victory at the Omni Tucson National Golf Resort’s Catalina Course. Xavier had 626, Pinnacle 629, and Chandler Hamilton was third at 656.

Freshman Kate Hauptman, who shared the lead after Monday’s (Oct. 26) first round, was the top individual finisher for XCP in third place. She shot a 3-over-par 76 in the second round and had a two-day total of 152, a respectable 6-over-par.

Peoria Liberty’s Mattie Frick and Hamilton’s Jennifer Seo tied for the No. 1 spot, and Frick took home the individual trophy after a playoff between the two.

Junior Ivy Song had a strong effort for Xavier on Tuesday, shooting a 3-over 76 for an 8-over 154.

The next two Gators to contribute to the team score were another freshman, Jayden Jevnick, who finished 11th, and Lauren Garcia, who finished 16th. Jevnick shot a 6-over 79 on Tuesday and had a final total of 13-over 159.  Garcia capped a memorable senior year with an 8-over 81 and final total of 15-over 161.

The fifth player of the Gator group, sophomore Annie Dawson, shot a 15-over 88 and finished with a 29-over 175 and a tie for 29th.

“Annie played with a lot of heart,’’ said Sr. Lynn Winsor, Athletic Director and co-head coach with Tui Selvaratnam. Jane Ladensack serves as an assistant.

Winsor added that all the Sisters at Xavier used the power of prayer to help the team along.

The Gators welcomed the sentiment. Friday’s round was cold and blustery.

“But the girls kept it together. All of them put in a lot of hard work. We knew they had a chance, but the way they finished was a pleasant surprise,’’ Selvaratnam said.

Winsor said the players participated in a “talent show’’ after the first round and Garcia, being a senior, delivered a memorable motivational message.

“She said, “We lost (to Pinnacle) in the Antigua and the Aguila (tournaments), but we have nothing to lose here,’ ’’ Winsor said.

Winsor said that Xavier, which led Pinnacle by six shots at the end of the first round, found itself with a 16-shot lead after 10 holes of the second round. Everyone knew that the Pioneers were not going to just roll over and give up. They are way too good for that.

Pinnacle’s charge caused the lead to shrink, and the Xavier girls held on for dear life.

“It was nerve-racking,’’ Winsor said.

Selvaratnam followed the team around in a golf cart during the rounds, offering words of advice at various points. The rules say that only one coach is allowed to do that.

 “Tui did an awesome job. The girls stayed balanced,’’ Winsor said.

Song helped keep the Gators afloat on the final hole, sinking a 16-foot put to take some of the pressure off Hauptman, who was playing in the group behind Song’s.

Selvaratnam accompanied the players south on Interstate 10 to the championship course on a few occasions in the weeks leading up to the tournament. It was valuable experience, she said, especially for the freshmen.

“There is a lot to know about this course, and all of them did a great job. They came through when we needed them,’’ Selvaratnam said.

“We are proud of the girls, for sure. This is one of the best wins I have had in 15 years as a coach.’’

The coaches are looking forward to working with the girls next year, seeing how they can improve between now and then. Only two seniors, Garcia and Mary Beth Doss, will graduate. The rest are expected to return.

With uncertainty created by the onset of the COVID-19 virus in the late winter and spring of 2020, nobody seemed to know what the future would bring in the early weeks this fall.

“We ended up happy -- happy to have a season and that the AIA (Arizona Interscholastic Association) was able to have a state tournament at this beautiful course,’’ Winsor said.


At Omni Tucson National Golf Resort’s Catalina Course

Team scores

Xavier Prep 626, Phoenix Pinnacle 629, Chandler Hamilton 656, Anthem Boulder Creek 674, Peoria Liberty 680, Gilbert Perry 731, Tucson Rincon-University 733, Gilbert Highland 756, Tempe Corona del Sol 769, Phoenix Desert Vista 771, Mesa Red Mountain 791, Mesa Mountain View 807.

Xavier individual scores

Kate Hauptman, Fr., 3rd, 152; Ivy Song, Jr., 6th, 154; Jayden Jevnick, Fr., 11th, 159; Lauren Garcia, Sr., 16th, 161; Annie Dawson, So., Tie-29th, 175.



State championship seasons

(Starting with Tuesday’s triumph)

2020, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1986, 1985, 1984, 1983, 1982, 1981, 1980.

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