Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Parks on Symetra Tour Roll ; Inner Drive Leads Golfer Up Money List with Two Wins

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Parks on Symetra Tour Roll ; Inner Drive Leads Golfer Up Money List with Two Wins

Article excerpt

MAYETTA -- A point beckons in the careers of virtually anyone who attempts to play golf professionally when a conversation is one- sided.

The only one listening, or talking, is the golfer. Maybe in the woods. Maybe in front of a mirror. It doesn't matter. The game needs fixing. Fast.

Although she is just 23, Sadena Parks remembers that particular moment. It came after her first season (2013) on the Symetra Tour, which will stage the Prairie Band Resort and Casino Charity Classic, a 54-hole event that begins with first-round play Friday at Firekeeper Golf Course.

"I'm not a person to cry," said Parks, "but the frustration level had gotten pretty bad. Everything was like below below. I was not where I wanted to be. I had to take myself aside -- just me, not my father, not my coach -- and ask, 'Do I really want this?' I convinced myself that I do want this, and I'm willing to do just about anything to get it."

Winning qualifies as something Parks is willing to do.

By claiming two titles in three weeks, Parks won two of the last four Symetra stops. After qualifying for the U.S. Open, Parks returned to the tour and captured the Credit Union Challenge, roaring from behind with a closing-round 62. Two weeks later, she captured the New England Charity Classic.

The victories vaulted Parks to third on the Symetra Tour money list with $51,615. The top 10 earners get cards for the LPGA Tour next season. Only three Symetra events remain, beginning with the Prairie Band Classic.

By winning, Parks padded a profile that grew immensely with an appearance on Big Break, the popular reality show on Golf Channel.

"Winning was a huge relief, but at the same time it was humbling having people, especially kids, look up to you," Parks said. "It's like now, I don't just have goals, but I have a purpose in life.

"It's not like I'm not just out here to win tournaments, but if I focus on winning tournaments, that can help others. I became aware why I was out here, and it wasn't just for me. That relaxed me, calmed me and totally gave me drive to go for it."

There is an element to Parks' aspirations she recognizes ... just like anyone who watches her play.

She is an African-American. In fact, she is closing in on becoming just the fifth African-American to secure full-time playing status on the LPGA Tour.

Although Parks also played basketball and ran track in high school, a slip of tongue prompted her to begin concentrating on golf -- a sport she took up by tagging alongside her father to the driving range near their home in Spanaway, Wash. …

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