Considering the more than two-hour storm delay, Jadena Parks didn’t really need the water bottle victory bath.
But after a course record-tying, nine-under-par 62 that catapulted her to a one-shot victory in the Symetra Tour’s SEFCU Championship Sunday, it probably felt pretty darn good.
Parks, a 24-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., resident who finished the three-day event at Capital Hills at Albany with a 14-under-par total of 199, jumped from a tie for 15th following the second round to an impressive come-from-behind victory over 19-year-old Min Lee of Taoyuan County, Taiwan, who led after both of the first two rounds.
Parks needed to make a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-3 18th hole for the course record and what she hoped would be a good enough score for a victory.
It was the first Symetra victory for Parks, who entered the tournament with just two top-10 finishes and $21,000 in earning, 14th on the money list. She picked up $15,000 more on Sunday.
“I had a pretty good guess where I was throughout the round,” she said. “On that final putt, I just wanted to keep it simple and keep the ball inside the hole. I shot lights-out today.”
Parks still had to wait for five more groups to finish before she could claim the trophy. Lee had a 15-foot birdie try that would have forced a playoff, but it rolled about three feet past the cup, and she knocked in her par to secure second place.
“It ended up being quite a waiting game,” Parks said. “This was my lowest tournament round ever. From experience, I knew that I shouldn’t get too far ahead of myself. I was trying to stay in the moment, and I was also trying to enjoy the moment.”
Parks made only one bogey for the 54 holes.
“I’m definitely pumped up. It hasn’t sunk in yet,” she said.
“When I made a good birdie on the second hole, I knew this would be a good day. I had a lot of birdie chances today, and I made some good 20-footers, even though not all my approach shots were that close.”
Lee, whose 12-under-par 130 over the first two rounds broke the tournament record, said her putter went cold in the final round.
“I was trying to be aggressive,” she said. “I kept giving myself a chance. Before the round, I just kept telling myself to keep giving myself chances, but nothing went in for me. The ball doesn’t like me today. Maybe she [Parks] stole all my birdies. But I can’t complain. I had a really good first two rounds, and this was my best finish of the year. There is no crying for me.”
Lee added $9,342 to her season earnings.
Min Seo Kwak, of Seoul, South Korea, and Brianna Do, of Lakewood, Calif., tied for third at 12-under-par. “I had no bogeyes for the entire tournament,” said Kwak. “I didn’t make as many birdies as I wanted, but I kept away from bogeys.”
Do finished strong with a pair of birdies on the final two holes.
“I could have finished with four straight birdies. I had close looks, but I was burning the edges,” she said. “But I felt good, and I can’t wait for next week [in Syracuse].”
Jackie Stoelting, the “Big Break Florida” winner whose father, Ed Barenborg, is a Niskayuna native, finished tied for 33rd with a 71-211.
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette: