The final group at the Buffalo District Golf Association Women’s Individual Championship was a competitive one. The players just didn’t know it.
Victoria Parker barely squeezed by Sydney Shaw and Sara Riso, besting them each by just one stroke, to take home the title at Transit Valley Country Club on Tuesday.
“We had no clue,” Parker said. “We were just playing and having a good time … It’s better to not know then going into every shot and you start to choke.”
A par on the final hole sealed Parker’s 36-hole total of 153, 9 over par. Although she birdied only one hole, Parker was consistent and avoided getting herself into trouble. Tied for the lead with Shaw after the first round on Monday (75), she was able to finish the job thanks to her short game.
“I got everything close and in range to at least make a par,” Parker said.
The trophy is a nice send-off for Parker, who will begin her collegiate golf career this fall at Coastal Carolina in Conway, S.C.
“I want to go play in the South and hopefully do this forever,” Parker said.
Parker graduated from Sacred Heart in 2015, then opted to take a gap year to help garner collegiate interest. She wasn’t receiving a ton of offers going into her senior year since she took to the game late, but after a strong summer last year that saw her shoot 70s and 60s, colleges started to call.
“It made me work on my game a lot, focus more,” Parker said. “I’m really happy I did it because I don’t think I was ready at all.”
Despite playing for only five years, she migrates south with quite the resume. She was International Junior Golf Tour Player of the Year for 2014-15 after winning multiple tournaments on the junior golf circuit and won the 2014 All-Catholic State Championship.
She plans to use the rest of the summer to prepare for college.
Rounding out the top five were Kim Kaul (160) and Michelle Hanes (165).
In the BDGA Men’s Championship, also at Transit Valley, Prep Talk Player of the Year and former Williamsville North Spartan Ben Reichert leads after two straight rounds of par golf. Andrew Romano and Bill Gaffney are tied for second at 3-over 145. Billy Hanes, who was tied with Reichert after the first round, is at 148.
The 30 golfers who made the 159 cut will finish Wednesday, with tee times beginning at 8 a.m.