The IHSAA Girls Golf State Finals tee off at 8:30 a.m. today.
Kokomo’s Kiah Parrott can hardly wait.
After a season in which she averaged shooting under par, Parrott is finally back at the state meet. It’s the senior’s third trip to state in four seasons and her last shot at doing something big on the high school stage.
“I’m honestly more excited than I’ve ever been for a state tournament, just because of where my game’s at now, and I feel really confident that it’s going to be a good week,” Parrott said.
Parrott has been medalist a dozen times this season over the course of duals and tournaments. She was the medalist at the Western Sectional with a 3-under 70 at Chippendale G.C., leading the Wildkats to a runner-up finish and a regional berth. At the Lafayette Jeff Regional, she shot a 2-over 74 at Battle Ground G.C., was third overall, and took the second individual advancing spot to state.
Today begins the two-day state finals at Prairie View G.C. in Carmel.
“I’m definitely pleased with how I’ve played this year for sure,” Parrott said. “I’m ready to go shoot some low numbers this weekend and prove that I’m the best in the state.”
The competition will have a say in that. All anyone can do is control their game, and Parrott has been exceptional at that this season.
In August she set two school records, carding a 7-under 66 over to set the KHS 18-hole record on Aug. 10 at Chippendale, and setting a nine-hole record with a 4-under 32 on Aug. 14 at the Kokomo Country Club. She recorded another 4-under 32 on Aug. 26 on a different course. Then she wrapped up the regular season with a 5-under 65 to lead the Kats to their first North Central Conference in more than a decade on Sept. 16 at Pebble Brook, setting a Kat record for NCC play.
Parrott closed last season with a plus-12 156 at state, good for a tie for 18th.
“After last year, I thought she’d be a little bit better than last year, but this year, it’s unbelievable,” Kokomo coach Andy Carpenter said. “Both her nine-hole average and her 18-hole average are below par. I figured we’d see a few rounds that were below par, but almost every round below par was nice, and shocking to see. It was nice to see her collect her reward of all those years of hard work.”
Carpenter thinks that making her college choice early helped Parrott play free this season, and the Ball State recruit agrees.
“I definitely think I worked really hard in the offseason this year, and also me knowing where I was going to college and being committed relieved a lot of pressure from my shoulders and I didn’t have to worry about that,” Parrott said. “So I went out and played golf all the time and didn’t have to worry about anything else.
“It was one of the biggest reliefs that I’d had, because I knew where I was going and I was happy with the choice I’d made. I knew I’d made the right decision, so I didn’t have to worry about it at all.”
Parrott’s stress level on course has gone down. The two-time all-state player said that she accepts that bad shots can happen to anyone at any time and has learned to move on quickly.
“She doesn’t get rattled as much,” Carpenter said. “Even if she has a bad hole or a bad swing, she gets a little upset with herself, but she turns right around and is able to jump back on her boat again and still play really well.”
Parrott is making her third trip to state. In addition to her junior season, she shot 159 as a freshman and was 29th. All three times she’s played at state it’s been at Prairie View, and she played a couple rounds there this week to get acclimated again.
“It’s definitely the biggest week of preparation I have ... just because the courses that we play throughout the season are completely different from Prairie View on the difficult level, and just because of how the course plays,” Parrott said.
“The greens are so different that you want to putt on them as much as you can. They’re a lot faster, but they’re also way more true than most of the greens around here.”
Parrott has controlled what she can control. She’s done the off-season work, she’s plotted her future, and she’s prepped for this week’s challenge. All that’s left is to see where that takes her.
“I feel pretty comfortable,” she said. “I’m pretty happy with where my game’s at now. I honestly don’t get nervous anymore, I just go out and play my game.”