If Xavier Prep felt any complacency when it came to winning the Division I girls golf title this year that was erased in Wednesday's first round when Pinnacle posted a two-shot lead over the prohibitive favorites.
That wake up call did wonders as Xavier rebounded with a team total Thursday of 11- par to win a third consecutive title and the 31st in school history at Aguila Golf Course in Laveen.
“I wouldn't call it complacency,” Xavier coach Sr. Lynn Winsor said. “We had a little talk after the round yesterday. Every player was relying on someone else to score well.
“Pinnacle played great yesterday. They did a great job, and we were kind of listless. I think the girls were more focused today.”
A good portion of Xavier's 11-under-par barrage came from defending champion Hannah O'Sullivan. The sophomore shot a 5-under 67 that propelled her from a tie for fifth after the opening round to a four-shot victory over Red Mountain's Kaitlyn Saum and Xavier teammate Madison Kerley. O'Sullivan was 4-under for the tournament and Saum and Kerley 1-under. Xavier's team total in winning was 574 (2-under). Pinnacle finished at 597. Gilbert High was third with 643.
Ariana Macioce and Kerley joined O'Sullivan shooting under-par rounds on Thursday. Both shot 69s. Xavier's fourth counting score Thursday was Katie Dunaway's 72..
O'Sullivan, who tallied a record-setting 12-under to win last year, carded seven birdies and two bogeys in the final round. She had three bogeys and two birdies on Wednesday, her only over-par round at state in four rounds over the last two years..
“We had a rough round (Wednesday), O'Sullivan said. “Yesterday I put too much pressure on myself. ….I still felt pressure today. I just had to fight out there, and try my best to the last putt.
“We discussed what we could do to improve after the round yesterday. Xavier has an amazing legacy. I wanted to do all I could to help the team.”
Pinnacle didn't make Xavier sweat much Thursday. but its opening-round prowess shocked most observers. Not, however, Pinnacle coach Chris Barden.
“We lit a match under them, but we couldn't keep it going,” Barden said. “We've had some good rounds this year. Not just the one yesterday. I wasn't surprised at all where we were at. …. In the end, Xavier was Xavier.”
Pinnacle's lead in the second round was short-lived as Xavier caught and passed Pinnacle for good after three holes. Firsr-round leader Hanna Atkins and first-round runner-up Gabby Bautista stayed within striking distance of the lead. However, with O'Sullivan birdieing five of the first 10 holes it was hard for them or any of the other eight to 10 contenders to keep up. Four players were within two shots of O'Sullivan as she played 11 through 14 without a birdie. Birdies by O'Sullivan on 15 and 16 were clinchers.
Rounding out the top 10 finishers for the tournament were Mountain Ridge's Carly Akine and Pinnacle's Gabby Bautista at 144 (tied for fourth); Macioce, Atkins, Dunaway and Ironwood Ridge's Sydney Colwill at 146 (tied for sixth) and Deer Valley's Jordyn Deardorff and Pinnacle's Megan Knadler at 150 (tied for 10th). Deardorff shot the only other under-par round Thursday with a 71.