Iowa women’s golf freshman Paula Miranda makes mark in fall tournaments

Miranda made it into the record books in just her second event as a Hawkeye.


Gabby Drees

Paula Miranda practices her putt at Finkbine Golf Course on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Iowa women’s golf freshman Paula Miranda came to Iowa City this fall after a successful summer on the course.

The freshman from Puebla, Mexico, placed third at the 72nd U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur, held from July 12-17.

So, it didn’t come as a surprise when Miranda paced the Hawkeyes at the Dick McGuire Invitational Sept. 13-14 — their first event of the season. Miranda placed 32nd individually with a 5-over-par 221.

But Miranda vaulted herself into the record books at the Badger Invitational Sept 18-21 — her second event as a Hawkeye.\

The freshman fired a bogey-free, 5-under-par round of 67 in the first round of the invitational and found herself with a three-shot lead on the field after 18 holes.

RELATED: Iowa women’s golf finishes ninth at Badger Invitational

Miranda’s 67 was the second-best 18-hole score in Iowa women’s golf program history.

In the following rounds of the Badger Invitational, Miranda struggled as she carded scores of 7-over-par 79 and 4-over-par 76 to finish tied for 20th.

Miranda said she put too much pressure on herself after day one, and her mindset cost her later in the invitational.

“I think I put a lot of pressure on me,” Miranda said. “I was first that tournament. I wanted to shoot the same score the next two days. I would get mad if I missed a shot. It was just — it was in my mind.”

Head women’s golf coach Megan Menzel said she expects her players to have nerves if they get a lead after the first day. She believes that Miranda’s nerves will become easier to control with each event.

“I think it’s so normal,” Menzel said. “I think we had kind of had some conversations about that, but then it always is hard until you get out there and things maybe, you know, just aren’t coming quite as easily.”

Menzel added she was proud of how Miranda battled on the third day of the tournament to finish the best she could.

After a triple bogey and a double bogey in a three-hole stretch, Miranda played her final 13 holes in even par.

“I really thought the last day was actually pretty well-played,” Menzel said. “She had some tough holes, you know, maybe would like to have back. Maybe didn’t manage it quite as well as she would have liked, but she just really fought hard the last day… To walk out of there as a freshman with a top-20, we always just want to see a little bit of climbing and we want her to put herself in the national conversation. Those are the days that define you as a college player.”

Miranda thinks the key to improving under pressure is building internal trust in her game while out on the course.

“I think I just have to stay calm about it,” Miranda said. “Don’t think about it that much. Just go off and play like if it was the first day, every single day. I know that I have the skills to do it, that I could do it. So, I just have to trust myself throughout the whole tournament.”

Iowa women’s golf will play next at the Ron Moore Women’s Intercollegiate in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, from Oct. 8-10.

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