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, November 2, 2021

Gator golfers stay close but fall just short in title bid

 Xavier Prep’s golf team made a strong bid for its second straight state Division championship and 38th in school history on Tuesday (Nov. 2), but the Gators fell a bit short and finished as runner-up behind Peoria Liberty by a scant three shots.

The tournament was played on Monday (Nov. 1) and Tuesday at the Omni Tucson National Resort’s Sonoran Course.

The finale ended up the same as it did after the first round – Liberty, followed by Xavier and Chandler Hamilton. The rest of the 12-team field didn’t really have a chance this time around.

About halfway through the final round, Xavier was tied with Liberty for the lead, but fell back a bit and did not recover.

The Gators had plenty of support from all of their teammates (18 total), who rode buses down to Tucson for the finale. Players were given T-shirts with their names on them and heard a few emotional words from the senior group after being a part of the runner-up trophy presentation.

“They (Liberty) played well and they deserved it,’’ said Xavier co-head coach Sr. Lynn Winsor.

Liberty senior Mattie Frick, who was the individual winner in 2020, dueled Hamilton’s Jennifer Seo throughout this tournament. Seo shot a 70 in the finale and hung on to win with a 134 total, and Frick shot 68 to finish at 138.

The top two finishers for Xavier were junior Annie Dawson, who was in a tie for fifth at 143, and senior Ivy Song, who was seventh at 144.

“We’re (Winsor, co-head coach Tui Selvaratnam and assistant Jane Ladensack) so proud of those two girls, so proud of all of them,’’ Winsor said.

Sophomore Kate Hauptman struggled in her opening round, but came back to shoot a 2-under-par 69 on Tuesday.

“That first round was hard for her, but she came back and played wonderfully,’’ Winsor said.

Sophomores Jayden Jevnick and Lena Durette shot 159 and 161, respectively.

Hauptman was tied for 14th, Jevnick tied for 26th and Durette tied for 28th, according to the iWannamaker score tabulation system.

“The competitiveness in golf around the state seems to be getting better and better every year,’’ Winsor said. “Everyone is going to have to be on their toes, and we know we will.’’

Team scores – Peoria Liberty 593, Xavier Prep 596, Chandler Hamilton 603, Phoenix Pinnacle 613, Anthem Boulder Creek 617, Phoenix Desert Vista 647, Gilbert Highland 651, Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor 681, Glendale Mountain Ridge 713, Gilbert Perry 715, Tempe Corona del Sol 717, Tucson Rincon/University 749.

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