Freshman Mary Parsons had all the right momentum heading into the Bettie Lou Evans Invitational in Lexington, Kentucky, this past weekend.
In her first collegiate tournament, the Ptarmigan Ram Classic, Parsons finished tied for 39th. She followed that with a 20th-place finish at the Couer d’Alene Resort Invitational, where she found herself atop the Hoosier leaderboard.
That all led to a record-breaking performance this past weekend at her third tournament — the Bettie Lou Evans Invitational. Parsons shot a 6-under 66 in the final round of play, breaking the IU women’s golf record for lowest score in a round.
“I just tried to play smart golf and didn’t try to force any shots like I had tried in the morning,” Parsons said. “Everything just fell into place. That’s just how I went about it, just tried to play relaxed golf out on the course and everything worked.”
Parsons started day two with a 7-over 79 in the second round before being able to rebound and posting her record-breaking score in round three. Her three-round score of 2-over 218 was enough to put her tied for eighth overall, giving her the first top-ten individual finish of the season for the Hoosiers.
“The first round, I wasn’t feeling the greatest,” Parsons said. “I probably slept four hours the night before because I’m coming down with a cold. That round was rough. I wasn’t hitting it the greatest."
IU Coach Clint Wallman said he credits much of Parsons’ success this season to her great play on the course, but he said he has also been impressed with her mental strength as a freshman.
“She’s really strong; she’s a competitor,” Wallman said. “It’s very rare to see people that can make birdies and aren’t afraid when it gets to 2-under to get it to 3, 4, 5 and, in her case, 6-under.”
With just one tournament remaining in the fall season, Parsons hopes to strengthen her game as the spring season approaches.
“I want to win an NCAA event,” Parsons said. “I want to win one event in the spring, and I’d like to qualify for nationals with the team. Even if we don’t make it as a team, I’d like to try to be one of those individuals that gets selected into the events.”
The Hoosiers finished seventh for the second consecutive tournament. Despite the lack of movement in the leaderboard, Wallman said he believes the team members have made great strides in their individual games and looks forward to what the future holds for the Hoosiers.
“We’ll go back, look at stuff, and a general observation is going to be trying to fine tune our efficiency when we put the scoring irons in our hand,” Wallman said. “I think that if we can do that, we’ll be really good."
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