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, June 17, 2021

Champion Gators to golf on well-known course

 The five golfers who helped Xavier Prep win its 37th state championship last fall are ready for another adventure, this one on the national scale.

By winning the title, the Gators were asked to participate in the invitation-only National High School Golf Association National Tournament for 2021, which is next week across the sprawling nine-course layout at historic Pinehurst, N.C. The courses have been the site of numerous PGA and LPGA events, college tournaments, and the high school tournament that began in recent years.

Teeing it up for XCP will be Kate Hauptman, who will be a sophomore this fall and was a third-place overall finisher a year ago, senior-to-be Ivy Song, who was sixth, sophomore Jayden Jevnick, who was 11th, recently graduated senior Lauren Garcia, who was 16th, and junior-to-be Annie Dawson, who finished in a tie for 29th.

Xavier golfers, top to bottom, are Annie Dawson, Lauren Garcia, Kate Hauptman, Jayden Jevnick and Ivy Song. (Xavier photos).

The traveling group will be led by Xavier Co-Head Coach Tui Selvaratnam and assistant coach Jane Ladensack. Xavier Athletic Director and Co-Head Coach Sr. Lynn Winsor will be unable to attend due to a prior commitment.

The group will leave this weekend and have practice rounds on Sunday (June 20), Monday (June 21) and Tuesday (June 22). The tournament, consisting of three rounds, will be held June 23-25.

Also representing Arizona in the tournament will be Phoenix Pinnacle, which won this tournament last season after besting Xavier in the Arizona state tournament in the fall of 2019. Pinnacle was invited again this year after the Covid pandemic limited or canceled travel plans for many teams a year ago. Pinnacle finished as state runner-up behind Xavier last fall.

The tournament will have 49 state champions participating (both boys and girls), with a combined individual list of more than 500 golfers.

“It is an honor for our team to play in this tournament. The girls are thrilled,’’ said Winsor.

She added that players have been working on their skills practically since the 2020 season ended.

“They have been playing in AJGA (Arizona Junior Golf Association) tournaments, which certainly should help,’’ Winsor said.

Selvaratnam said she played in a tournament at Pinehurst in the mid-2000s and is well aware of the historic aspect of the area.

“There is a lot of history,’’ she said. “Many legends have played there, and it will be fun for our kids to go.’’

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