Iowa women’s golf notebook | sophomore Paula Miranda looks to keep momentum as Hawkeyes head to California

Miranda recorded her second-career top-10 finish at the Briar’s Creek Invitational from March 13-14.


Gabby Drees

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

Chris Werner, Assistant Sports Editor

Sophomore Paula Miranda led the Hawkeyes individually in six of their nine stroke-play events in 2021-22, but the Puebla, Mexico, native struggled near the end of her freshman campaign and has only led Iowa in three of nine stroke-play tournaments this season.

Miranda, however, collected her second-career top-10 at Iowa’s most recent tournament — the Briar’s Creek Invitational — from March 13-14. 

Miranda tied for 10th individually, firing rounds of 71, 72, and 73 at the par-72 John’s Island, South Carolina, layout to finish with an even-par total of 216.

“I think I had been struggling this fall and the spring last year,” Miranda told The Daily Iowan on March 23. “Just working a lot on things with my swing. I mean, mentally, like on the course I would get nervous, I would get stressed, I would overthink things. Just a lot of work of like getting together again. Last week it clicked, so that was great. I just gotta learn from it and keep trying to do that going forward.”

At the Briar’s Creek Invitational, Miranda was paired with former Iowa player and current Old Dominion Monarch Klara Wildhaber. Wildhaber finished in a tie for 29th at 5-over-par. 

Miranda said playing with a familiar face allowed her to relax and play freely.

Miranda said she plays her best golf in a relaxed state, and her Hawkeye coaches know that, so they have resorted to unorthodox methods to try to keep her mind from thinking too much about golf.

“I have to keep myself distracted,” Miranda said. “Don’t take myself too seriously when I’m on the course. [Assistant coach Allison Howarth] does this thing where she writes funny questions on a piece of paper for me to answer on the course. So, that has helped me to relax.”

Miranda said she has worked hard on her swing recently, and head coach Megan Menzel said Miranda’s recent success is thanks in part to getting back to the foundation of her game. 

 She’s worked on a few things in her swing, and I think she’s just been really patient,” Menzel said of Miranda. “I think you have to get back to the basics a little bit sometimes. Golf is funny like that, you know, you kind of hit some little plateaus and things. She’s just been really, really patient and kind of finding her groove.”

Miranda tallied nine birdies in South Carolina, including five in the opening round. 

This week, as the Hawkeyes travel to Fresno, California, for the Fresno State Classic at San Joaquin Country Club from March 27-28, Miranda said she is not setting any goals for herself.

“I think I’ve I’ve been trying to set goals for myself and hasn’t really worked out for me that well. I think if I have expectations, I’m just tougher on myself. So I’ll just try to go out there, relax, play the best I can. I mean, stay focused at the right times. But yeah, hopefully, we can get another top-10, that would be great.”

Miranda, along with freshmen Shannyn Vogler, Madison Dabagia, Kaitlyn Hanna, and senior Jordan Amelon, will represent the Hawkeyes in California in a 14-team tournament field that includes Arkansas State, Cal State-Bakersfield, Fresno State, Cal State-Fullerton, Grand Canyon, Iowa, Long Beach State, Nevada, Cal State-Northridge, Oral Roberts, Rutgers, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, and Xavier.

Nevada, Xavier, Long Beach State, and Grand Canyon are ranked in the top 100 nationally in the Golfstat rankings, checking in at 20th, 73rd, 86th, and 100th, respectively.

This year will mark the first time the Hawkeyes have played in the event. 

“the course looks beautiful,” Menzel said. “I think it’ll be you know, aesthetically, very, very pretty. They’ve had a lot of rain out there, so we’ve been talking about just wet conditions. I think it’s been very helpful for us to get out and play [in Iowa City.] I walked about five or six holes with a couple players late [Wednesday] afternoon and our turf is a little wet, obviously coming out of winter. Just understand you know, ball striking and what we got to do in wet conditions.”

Iowa will begin play at 10:30 a.m. Monday. Live scoring can be found here.

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