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, September 23, 2021

Gators survive their own obstacles on golf course

 Xavier Prep’s record in golf speaks for itself. The Gators have won 37 state championships, far and away the best of any team in Arizona.

But it’s not as if the Gators can roll the ball across the green and have it automatically roll into the cup. There are times when the ball doesn’t go where it is supposed to, such as straying into unmarked territory off the tee, burying itself in a bunker or plunking  into the water.

That’s the way it was on Wednesday (Sept. 22), when the Gators faced a tough Chandler Hamilton team at Phoenix Country Club.

At least at the beginning.

Xavier could not find the flag. The pin seemed like a million miles away.

Yet somehow the Gators managed to stand their ground and rallied from their six-stroke deficit after two holes for a nine-stroke victory over the Huskies (149-158), who have finished as the No. 3 team in the state the last three years and were the state runner-up two years before that.

Shortly after the shotgun start, Xavier co-head coaches Tui Selvaratnam and Sr. Lynn Winsor rolled up in their cart next to the clubhouse to check on a possible ruling.

The normally affable coaches had Mount Rushmore faces. That told you something right there.

“Things not going so good?’’ one observer asked Selvaratnam.

The answer was brief. “No, not good,’’ she said.

It seemed like it was one of those rare occasions when everything caved in at once. With most matches, one or two golfers might slide, but their teammates will pick them up.

What was necessary was everyone picking themselves up.

“We finally settled down and brought it back. It was tough,’’ Selvaratnam said afterward.

“The main lesson for us is that we are not invincible. We have six weeks to go before the state tournament. We’re going to have to make sure we are prepared, and we have to start preparing now.’’

Hamilton junior Jennifer Seo was the round’s medalist, with a quality round of 3-under 33.

Three 1-over-par rounds of 37 figured into the bulk of the Xavier scoring. Those were shot by sophomores Jayden Jevnick and Kate Hauptman and the third was by junior Annie Dawson. The fourth score was by senior Ivy Song, a 2-over 38. The extra player was sophomore Lena Durette, who had a 4-over 40.

Other Xavier scores:

Sophomore Karter Nannen (1-over 37), freshman Carrie Doss (2-over 38), sophomore Grace Rubelski (2-over 38), sophomore Kyla Layman (4-over 40), sophomore Kalyn Doss (5-over 41), sophomore Lauren Campbell (5-over 41), senior Ava Mayberger (5-over 41), senior Audrey Sanchez (8-over 44), junior Sophie Stamatis (8-over 44), sophomore Jorden Weinberg (19-over 55) and freshman Aanvi Goel (19-over 55).

Xavier returns to Phoenix Country Club on Tuesday (Sept. 28) for a match against Tempe Corona del Sol.

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