ALBANY, NEW YORK, July 27, 2014 – It was only a matter of time for Sadena Parks. In her last three events before the SEFCU Championship at Capital Hills, she finished T17, T11 and solo second. On Sunday in Albany, Parks fired a course-tying 9-under 62 to come from seven shots back to win. She started the day in a tie for 15th place and used the career day to win at 14-under 199 by one shot over 36-hole leader Min Lee.
“I’ve been waiting two years for this,” said the 24-year-old Parks. “I’m just really excited, I can’t wait to talk to my dad, my friends and I just want to take it all in.”
Parks becomes just the second African-American woman to win a Symetra Tour event in the 34-year history of the Tour. The only other African-American to win was LaRee Sugg, who won the 1998 Aurora Health Care FUTURES Classic in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.
“The steps that I am taking helps to influence younger African-American kids, girls and boys, and even parents that have younger kids that want them to be more involved in this game.”
There have been a total of just four African-American women to play on the LPGA Tour. Parks has positioned herself to be the fifth.
“Kind of how Tiger Woods changed golf, I want to be the next African-American out there on the LPGA Tour. I want to be ranked number one on the LPGA Tour one day.”
Parks started with a flourish, making birdie on the first and second holes. After a par on the third, she made three straight birdies to get to 10-under. The Scottsdale, Arizona resident made the turn at 5-under 31. On the back nine, Parks carded back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th holes to get to 12-under. Then, on the 16th hole, she took the lead with a birdie on the par-3.
Parks, who finished five groups in front of the leaders, dropped her tee shot on the 18-hole to ten feet from the cup. She calmly poured in the birdie putt to move to 14-under.
Lee, who led after 18-holes and 36-holes, made her lone birdie on the day at the par-5 12th hole to get to 13-under. On the 18th hole, she had a 15-foot putt to tie Parks, but was unable to sink the putt.
“It didn’t sink in until everyone started throwing water on me. It was a relief, I was super nervous when she was over her putt because she has played well all week and what’s to say she won’t make that putt. I was very nervous, but once she missed it I was relieved and excited.”
Entering the day, Parks was seven shots back and wasn’t sure if a win was in the cards.
“I knew I was hunting for Min Lee, but I honestly didn’t see this coming. I just stayed in the moment, birdie after birdie and I kept dropping them. It turned out to be a great day.”
Parks’ putter was red hot on Sunday. She needed just 25 putts.
The winner’s check of $15,000 moved Parks from 14th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list to sixth with $36,213.
“My goal for this year was to earn my LPGA Tour card and right now being number six is very exciting. I’m going to hold that position. Actually, since there are six more tournaments, I am going to try and move up on the money list.”
Parks also tied the 30-year 54-hole tournament record of 14-under-par. In 2005, Seon-Hwa Lee won the event in Albany at 14-under.
Lee finished second and is now ninth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. Min Seo Kwak and Brianna Do finished at 12-under 201 to tie for third. Do jumped from 76th on the money list to 44th.
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Will Suzann Pettersen defend her title?