Iowa women’s golfer Paula Miranda confident ahead of spring season

The Iowa women’s golf team’s No. 1 player finished 12th at the Women’s Amateur Latin America Championship over winter break.


Gabby Drees

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

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

RELATED: Iowa women’s golfer Paula Miranda ends successful fall season

When women’s golfer Paula Miranda first arrived on the University of Iowa’s campus in September, she had a lot to get used to.

The freshman from Puebla, Mexico, had to navigate a new country, a new school, and a new team — all after missing the first few weeks of fall practices.

Miranda couldn’t join the Hawkeyes for the beginning of fall practice in August because of quarantine protocols. But she still became Iowa’s No. 1 player by the end of the fall season.

Miranda posted top-20 finishes in two of the Hawkeyes’ four fall events, including a tie for second at the Ron Moore Intercollegiate Oct. 8-10. She was the top Iowa finisher in three events and led the Hawkeyes in scoring average by over a shot in the fall season

And she was just trying to get comfortable.

“When I got here, I just wanted to adjust, to fit in, to be a good member of the team,” Miranda told The Daily Iowan Jan 19. “I mean, of course, I always play my best golf and to win, but at some points [during the fall] I just wanted to be more comfortable.  I was not really feeling that desire to win.”

But after playing solid rounds over Thanksgiving and winter break and becoming more comfortable with the collegiate golf experience, Miranda said it’s all systems go for the spring season.

“Now, I think I got my confidence up,” Miranda said. “I don’t know, I’ve just got something in me that I really believe that I can win, that I shouldn’t be… I shouldn’t, like, hold back at all. I should just go for it and do my best. Be smart on the course, be more relaxed and in the present, and I don’t know, just enjoy it.”

Miranda says a large part of her confidence came from her performance in the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship in July 2021. Miranda took eventual champion Rose Zhang to extra holes in the semifinals as the 44th seed.

But her recent play in an offseason tournament also has Miranda excited for the spring season.

A spot opened up in the first-ever Women’s Amateur Latin America Championship in November, and Miranda got the call.

Miranda originally wasn’t even in the field, but she finished 12th out of the 60 best women’s amateur players from Latin America.

Luggage issues forced Miranda to play her two practice rounds without her own clubs. They arrived just at the Pilar Golf Course in Buenos Aires, Argentina, just in time for her to warm up before the first day of competition.

She began the event 6-over-par 78, but followed it up with rounds of 71 and 73 to move from 45th place after day one to 12th by the conclusion of play.

“That was crazy,” Miranda said. “The first day I think I started 45th and yeah, of course, I wasn’t very happy with my performance that day. I just kept my head up, I realized I had to adjust some things on the course with my clubs. So, the next two days, I played better.

“It was kind of a long course,” Miranda added. “We had lots of wind, especially the last two days. Lots of water, narrow fairways, the hills on the greens were so challenging, I think the hardest I’ve ever played. It’s an amazing course… The last day  I had a really good day. I shot, I think, one over and I think I was one of the top three best scores of the day, which got me up the leaderboard. Very, very happy with how I finished that tournament.”

Miranda was also set to play in the Mexican Women’s Amateur Jan. 6-9, but had to withdraw because of food poisoning.

Miranda and her Hawkeye teammates will begin the spring schedule Jan. 31- Feb. 1 at the Big Ten Match Play Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida.

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