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, June 25, 2021

Gator golfers finish strong as national runner-up

 Xavier Prep’s Arizona Division I state champion golf team had a solid final day and a strong overall effort to finish as runner-up, but the Georgia state champion Lambert High team (Suwanee) was on top of its game again in Friday’s (June 25) final round to wrap up a wire-to-wire victory in the National High School Golf Association Girls National Tournament.

The event was played on three different courses, part of a nine-course layout, at the storied Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, N.C.

Lambert won with a 27-over-par total. Xavier was second at 55-over in the three days.

Xavier's national runner-up golf team. From left, assistant coach Jane Ladensack, players Annie Dawson, Jayden Jevnick, Lauren Garcia, Kate Hauptman, Ivy Song and Gators co-head coach Tui Selvaratnam (Xavier photo).

South Carolina was third, Nevada was fourth, with Phoenix Pinnacle fifth and Oro Valley (Tucson) Ironwood Ridge sixth.

Arizona Division I state champion Mattie Frick of Peoria Liberty shot a four-under-par 68 and thought she might get into a playoff with Chloe Johnson of Indiana, but Johnson birdied the final hole to win the national individual title by one shot. Johnson finished with a 1-under 215 for the tournament and Frick was at even-par 216.

“We had a good day today, but it was tough with the way Georgia was playing,’’ said Xavier Co-Head Coach Tui Selvaratnam. “Our freshmen (2020-21 school year) also played well.’’

That would be Kate Hauptman, who finished third in the Arizona state tournament, and Jayden Jevnick. Hauptman tallied a 1-over 73 and Jevnick was at 3-over 75 for the final round. Both were at 18-over, tied for 33rd.

Overall, the rest of the Gators looked like this over the three rounds:

Annie Dawson (junior-to-be in 2021-22), final round 78, 14-over par for the tournament, tied for 19th; Ivy Song (senior-to-be), final-round 82 (not counted in team score for final day), 16-over par, tied for 25th; and recently graduated senior Lauren Garcia, final-round 79, 17-over par, tied for 29th.

“The tournament was well organized, and the girls loved it. It was a great experience for them,’’ said Selvaratnam, who was helped by golf team assistant coach Jane Ladensack on this trip.

 “We played in the sun, wind and a little bit of rain, and it was good to be out on the course.

“Will we be able to come back next year? We hope so. Most of our girls will be back, and know what to expect with this tournament and know what they have to do to get here.’’

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