Story No. 6 – Big Breakers Parks and Stoelting in Playoff
Sadena Parks and Jackie Stoelting were two of the most popular players on Tour in 2014. They were both contestants on Big Break Florida, which Stoelting won.
On Sunday in New Hampshire, Stoelting closed with a 6-under 66 and stood at 8-under. She was the clubhouse leader for what seemed like hours. Group after group finished and player after player feel short of the number. The only player lurking was Parks, who made five birdies on the back nine including a clutch putt on the 18th to tie Stoelting at 8-under.
There is such a mutual respect between the two.
“It’s very exciting, I knew I had one more win under my belt,” said Parks, who won the SEFCU Championship at Capital Hills two weeks prior in Albany. “Playing against Jackie was really, really hard, but we both put in a good fight and I can’t wait to see her on the LPGA Tour with me next year.”
Parks was playing the best golf of her life and she outlasted Stoelting on the second playoff hole.
“This second win just shows how much I’ve improved over the year. It not only means a lot to me, but I know it means a lot to my fans, supporters and my team.”
Parks’ improvement was truly remarkable. She went from 99th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list in 2013 to fourth in 2014. She made $3,600 in 2013.
The win in New Hampshire was another history making victory. Two weeks prior, Parks become the first African-American to win on the Symetra Tour since LaRee Sugg in 1997. She became the first African-American to win twice in the 34-year history of the Symetra Tour.
Because of Big Break Florida, Parks and Stoelting became good friends and will now forever be linked on the golf course. You’ll see them a lot on Golf Channel again in 2015 – this time competing on the LPGA Tour.
In Stoelting’s Words…
I was never really in contention in New Hampshire but I had a final round 66 including a birdie on the final hole to sit and wait. At the time, the leaders had backed up and I held the clubhouse lead. I remember standing around with my caddie, housing, and my cousin who came from Boston to watch for what seemed like forever. I was watching live scoring and noticed only two players had a chance coming in to tie me, one was Sadena. Once I heard she birdied 17, I went straight to the range knowing she was going to birdie 18 to tie. We have a great friendly rivalry that has pushed us both to be better. On Big Break, we never had to go head to head in playing golf but we went head to head in several challenges, each winning our fair share. Going into the playoff, I knew it would be a tough but fun battle. We both birdied 18 and then we got to 17. It's a dog leg left par 4 and I hit my 3wood through the fairway everyday. Unfortunately, my ball found rough again and I had to play it safe hitting it on the green quite a bit away from the hole. Sadena stuck it close so I gave my first putt a good chance to go in but it went by a good 8-10 feet. Sadena missed and I felt a glimpse of hope, but unfortunately my putt did a 360 and I found myself in 2nd place. I was pretty upset since I felt like I lost it by 3 putting. However if anyone else had to win, I was glad it was Sadena. I'm excited to play with her next year on tour and hopefully that won't be the last time we are going head to head to win a tournament!