Mary Parsons has unfinished business on the golf course.
The Indiana women’s golf senior chose to use her extra year of COVID-19 eligibility and is seeking closure in hopes for a complete season.
After the past two seasons were shortened due to the pandemic, Parsons wanted one more shot at competing in a normal season. And although last year was a down year for the Hoosiers, the team has reloaded and is ready to follow Parsons’ lead.
“Last year wasn’t how we wanted to play, but we have four newcomers as well as some returning players, and we want to make a push this year,” Parsons said.
The four freshmen — Lydia Cryer, Aine Donegan, Margaret Fernandez and Beatriz Junquiera — will start off their Indiana careers learning from Parsons, one of the program’s top ranked players.
Her 74.23 average score places her second in program history, and she trails 2021 graduate Priscilla Schmid by just .01. Parsons said she honestly didn’t know her historic standing. Instead, her sights are set on setting her personal best season average of 73.31.
“Individually, I want to beat my freshman scoring average and just put my best foot forward,” Parsons said. “As a whole for the season, we want to chase a Big Ten title, and give a shot at regionals and potentially nationals.”
Results can’t come without work, and Parsons made sure the effort was put in this summer. A lighter school course schedule after graduating this past May made it easier to focus on golf.
Travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada left her unable to return home to Delta, British Columbia, so she resorted to practicing around Bloomington and tournament play, including the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship, where a four-day score of 293 placed her tenth.
Even away from home, the results appear promising. Parsons said her game has been turning the corner just weeks away from match play.
Accolades are nothing new to Parsons. Through her four-year career she has been recognized as Academic All-Big Ten three times. She posted the best average score on the team last year with a 76.53 and was named Big Ten Golfer of the Week in April 2019. In her freshman year she shot a school record 66 for 18 holes and set a then-record single season average score with her personal best 73.31.
This level of success, paired with the experience gained along the way, have strengthened Parsons’ role as a leader on the team.
“I’ve played in quite a few events, learned from my previous upperclassmen and I’ve figured out what works best for me,” Parsons said. “Now I try to understand each individual to better understand their situation.”
Perhaps most important to Parsons in her final season with Indiana doesn’t involve golf at all. The bond she’s formed with her teammates and coaches goes much deeper than the sport.
“The girls and the coaching staff are all great and have been a second family for me,” Parsons said. “All the resources have made Bloomington a second home.”