FOUR-WAY SUDDEN-DEATH PLAYOFF CONCLUDES EXCITING IOA INVITATIONAL
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 Epson 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 Epson 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.”
PARRA CAPTURES FIRST EPSON TOUR VICTORY
It was just a matter of time before Maria Parra stepped into the winner’s circle on the Epson 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 Epson 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 Epson 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 Epson 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
Leona Maguire (-6, T2) on the outcome of the sudden-death playoff:
“If you would have told me this morning I would be in a playoff after being seven shots back at the start of the day, it was just a bonus. I was pretty tired coming into this week, so just wanted to try and play some solid golf. Maria played some incredible golf in the playoff and I couldn’t really do much more than that. I think we put a show on for the people still here. They weren’t easy holes, but I guess we made it look easier. Happy going into next week, back close to where I went to college.”
Madison Pressel (-6, T2) on how the final round of the IOA Invitational ended:
“This is what we play golf for. Being able to come in and know I had a chance, but thought I would have to go a little bit lower than I did. We didn’t have any scoreboards from No. 11 on and I didn’t know until I got to No. 18 where I stood. It was a little nerve-racking not knowing where you are, then to get into a playoff was just awesome.”
Samantha Wagner (-2, T20) on recording a hole-in-one at the par-3 11th with a 6-iron from 162 yards:
"One of the girls had already hit and there was a similar yardage yesterday, the pin was close. I was going right at it, looked pretty good then stayed on the pin, landed and just disappeared. Pretty cool, I was really excited and jacked, which affected by next hole. It was my second, but first in competition.”
- Parra, 21, is a native of Guadiaro, Spain
- Captured the 2013 North of England Championship, 2013 Evian Masters International Tournament and 2013 Andalucian International
- Won the 2015 European Ladies Amateur Championship in Austria
- Two-time winner on the Ladies European Tour Access Series in 2016 to finish at No. 3 on the Order of Merit and earn full LET status for 2017
- Finished T13 at the Final Stage of the 2016 LPGA Qualifying Tournament to earn Priority List Category 12 membership for the 2017 LPGA Tour season
- Competed in 18 events on the LPGA Tour as a rookie in 2017 with a season-best showing of T56 at the LPGA Volvik Championship
- Made 20 starts in first season on the Epson Tour last year and played the weekend seven times while earning a season-best T11 result at the Four Winds Invitational
- Six cuts made through six starts in 2019 includes three top-20 finishes and one win at the second annual IOA Invitational