As far back as 2016, it was apparent that Ashley Menne was going to be a force to reckon with in high school girls’ golf.
She was a freshman that year, but earned a piece of the Division I state title in a tournament that was shortened to just 18 holes due to rain, wind, and lightning rolling in across the desert to force cancellation of the state event for the first time in 29 years.
When it was called, the Xavier Prep team was 16 strokes ahead of the field and Menne was leading the way with a 2-under 70 that earned her part of a three-way tie for medalist honors. Earlier in the season, she also medalled at the Antigua National High School Invitational to announce her arrival to the prep game.
She also was named the Junior Golf Association of Arizona Girls Player of the Year that same year.
And last week, she picked up her fourth consecutive JGAA Player of the Year award in the Championship Division at the annual banquet at Papago Golf Course in Phoenix.
During that time, she helped Xavier to three consecutive state titles, and the Gators will be the odds-on favorite to win a ninth straight team championship this year. The small, all-girls Catholic school in central Phoenix is the most successful golf program in the state, piling up 36 state titles since 1980 and winning 20 out of the last 21 team championships.
Her sophomore year, Menne upped her game at the state tourney by shooting a 69 in the first round on the way to a 140 that earned her a second straight title. Last year, a 141 (70, 71) total enabled her to make it three in a row.
So, anyone hoping to wrest the crown from the 17-year-old phenom better plan to cover the course in 140 strokes or less.
Menne took up golf when she was just five years old. She lived in Singapore at the time and didn’t move to the United States until she was nine.
Missy Farr-Kaye, a Xavier Prep graduate and current head coach at Arizona State, convinced the youngster to commit to the Sun Devil program last year. So Menne will be wearing maroon and gold next year at this time.
But before she leaves, she could accomplish one more amazing feat. If she’s selected as the azcentral sports Girls Golfer of the Year at season’s end it will be four straight for that honor as well.
The Gators won’t have Menne around next season to help the team keep its winning streak alive – assuming they add this year to the string – but they may not need her. Annie Dawson, a freshman at Xavier this year, was named JGAA Girls Player of the Year in the age 13-14 division.
Coach Farr-Kaye will need to keep her eye on this one, too. In the meantime, Xavier will put her talents to good use.