A total of four players were tied for the lead of 6-under par overall after 54 holes at the second annual IOA Invitational including Maria Parra (Guadiaro, Spain), Leona Maguire (County Cavan, Ireland), Madison Pressel (Boca Raton, Florida) and Ssu-Chia Cheng (Taipei, Chinese Taipei). In order to decide a champion, the group competed in a sudden-death playoff this afternoon until a winner was crowned.
Parra, Pressel and Maguire each managed birdie for the first extra frame, while Cheng found the water hazard leading to her elimination. The three remaining individuals played No. 18 two more times with a birdie result each round. Following three trips down the par-5, the rotation between No. 1 and No. 18 began.
Birdie was carded for everyone in the trio at the par-4 1st, so it was back to No. 18. The fifth hole of the sudden-death playoff proved to be the deciding factor as Parra captured her first Symetra Tour title with an eagle to outlast Pressel and Maguire.
“I played with Maria today and so we both got to watch each other play well,” said Pressel, who fired a 2-under par in the final round. “We’re with the same girls every week and want each other to do well. We are all trying to make it to the LPGA and I want that competitive fire between us, so we can be friendly and still cheer each other on to do the best they can. I think that’s what is so cool about the Symetra Tour—we truly do care and want our friends to do well, the other girls to play good golf too. It not only does great things for the Tour and people watching, but grows the game in general.”
It was just a matter of time before Maria Parra stepped into the winner’s circle on the Symetra Tour, having played the weekend in all five starts this season prior to teeing it up at Atlanta National Golf Club. The 21-year-old Spaniard carded a final round 2-under par before clinching victory on the fifth hole of a sudden-death playoff.
“It feels really good and I played great on this course,” said Parra, who recorded an eagle, nine birdies and four bogeys over her final 23 holes. “I hit a lot of fairways, greens and chipped really good. It was a pleasure to win here, course was in great condition and I’m just so happy. I hit my ball for eagle a few times then finally I made it and all my friends supported me the whole week. I’m so happy.”
The win is the first on the Symetra Tour by a player from Spain since Celia Barquin Arozamena was killed last September on a golf course in Ames, Iowa as she prepared for the LPGA Qualifying Tournament. A former teammate and friend to many on the “Road to the LPGA,” it’s no coincidence Parra’s victory falls on the same day Barquin Arozamena would have walked at Iowa State University commencement.
“We were great friends, teammates in Spain and lived together for two years,” Parra said with a smile. “She helped me on the course, for sure I know that. I know she is proud of me now.”
VOLVIK RACE FOR THE CARD STANDINGS AFTER WEEK SIX
Following the sixth tournament of the 2019 Symetra Tour season, the Volvik Race for the Card welcomes a fresh top-10.
The victory and $22,500 winner’s check move Maria Parra up 23 spots to No. 3, having earned $30,345 across six starts this season. Here is a look at the current top-10 heading into the eighth annual Symetra Classic at River Run Country Club in Davidson, N.C. from May 15-17:
1. Julieta Granada (Asuncion, Paraguay) – $49,790
2. Leona Maguire – $47,540
3. Maria Parra – $30,345
4. Jillian Hollis (Rocky River, Ohio) – $28,436
5. Cydney Clanton (Concord, North Carolina) – $27,650
6. Kelly Tan (Batu Pahat, Malaysia) – $26,180
7. Lauren Coughlin (Charlottesville, Virginia) – $25,321
8. Ssu-Chia Cheng – $22,349
9. Madison Pressel – $21,737
10. Dewi Weber (Groningen, Netherlands) – $20,921