It was a familiar story in girls golf.
Xavier won another state championship. It’s now happened in 31 of the last 34 years as the Gators continue to dominate high school girls golf in the state of Arizona. And those three years they didn’t win it, the Gators finished second.
There was however, a little bit of a twist this year. Xavier had to come from behind to win this state title. Pinnacle was the first-round leader with a total of 7-over-par 295 at Aguila Golf Course in Laveen. The Gators were a surprising two shots back of the Pioneers.
So what does Sister Lynn Winsor’s team do during Thursday’s second day? The Gators shoot a team score of 11-under-par 277 to easily overtake Pinnacle and win the team title.
Xavier’s 36-hole total of 2-under-par 574 was 23 shots better than Pinnacle’s 597. A distant third was Gilbert. Xavier’s team total was only four shots off its all-time tournament best of 570.
Winsor’s group did some re-evaluating after the first round. She reminded them that each one of the five golfers has to do their part.
“Yesterday we did not play great golf,” Winsor said. “I think everybody was thinking everyone else was doing it and no one was doing it.”
That all changed Thursday. Hannah O’Sullivan had a 4-under-par 67, Madison Kerley added a 69, as did Ariana Macioce. Katie Dunaway added a 72 as the fourth counting score for Xavier.
O’Sullivan came into the tournament as the defending champion, having shot rounds of 68 and 64 to win by eight shots last year.
This year she went into the final round trailing Pinnacle’s Gabby Bautista and Hanna Atkins, both of which shot 1-under-par 71 on Wednesday.
O’Sullivan responded by firing the day’s best round on Thursday, and with that 67, claimed her second straight Division I title.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous for a round,” O’Sullivan said. “This was something I really, really wanted.”
She said she had to compose herself throughout the day and keep in the moment. It obviously worked because she had seven birdies and just two bogeys on the day.
As a sophomore, she now has a chance at a third title next year. Only Grace Park, who went to Xavier and Horizon, and former Gator Amanda Blumenherst (now on the LPGA Tour) have won three individual titles in Arizona high school history.
Kerley finished tied for second along with Red Mountain’s Kaitlyn Saum, both three shots behind O’Sullivan. Fourth was Bautista and fifth was Atkins.