PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS INSIDER
Parel confident his winning moment will come in 2019
June 12, 2019
By Bob McClellan, PGATOUR.COM
- June 12, 2019
- Parel has eight runner-up finishes since the start of 2017. (Getty Images)
Scott Parel is having about as good a year on PGA TOUR Champions as a player can have who hasn’t won yet.
He has three solo runner-up finishes, two other top 10s and ranks fourth in the Schwab Cup standings. In fact, he’s the only player in the top six in the season-long race for the Schwab Cup without a victory. He actually ranks one spot ahead of his chief tormentor this season, Kevin Sutherland, despite the fact Sutherland has two victories, both in playoffs over Parel.
Parel admits to feeling somewhat frustrated with the fact he has been in the hunt a few times and not cashed in. But he shouldn’t. He has been playing phenomenally all year. In 13 events, his worst finish is T39. Each of the three players ahead of him in the Schwab race – Scott McCarron, Kirk Triplett and Ken Tanigawa – has a finish worse than 50th.
“I feel like I know how to win,” Parel said Tuesday. “I’ve won two times out here. Once you win you feel like you can do it. You feel like you should win when you have three good opportunities like I’ve had. It’s a little frustrating. It’s like I’ve told my friends who are encouraging me, ‘There’s only one guy happy at the end of the week. There’s 77 guys who aren’t going to go home a winner.’ I know I have to be patient and keep playing like I’m playing.”
Patience has been a virtue for Parel, 54, thus far in his Champs career. His story has been well documented. He got a degree in computer science at Georgia while not playing on the Bulldogs’ golf team. He thought about walking on, figured the time commitment would be too much, and decided to concentrate on his studies. In 2016 he Monday qualified for PGA TOUR Champions events on six consecutive tries, and that gave him the confidence to know he belonged.
Parel won the 2017 Q school tournament to secure his card for the year. He posted six top 10s to finish 21st in the Schwab standings to earn fully exempt status for 2018. His breakthrough victory came at last year’s Boeing Classic, and a win just two months later in the playoffs at the Invesco QQQ Championship signified to his fellow competitors that Parel was beginning to put together all of the pieces of his prodigious talent.
A lucky bounce here, a putt falls in there, Sutherland doesn’t shoot a preposterous 8-under 28 on the back nine at the Principal Charity Classic, and who knows how much better Parel would stand in 2019 than he already does?
“I don’t think he (Sutherland) had any expectation in Des Moines; he was just playing,” said Parel, who ranks fourth in scoring, eighth in driving distance and eighth in putting average. “It was the same for me in Seattle (his first win, at the 2018 Boeing Classic). I played really well on the front nine but had no idea I’d have chance to win the golf tournament. I was so far behind. It frees you up a little bit and you don’t pay attention to the leaderboard.
“For me that’s more of a comfortable position. I had to sleep on the lead every night (at the PCC). I didn’t play terrible golf. I shot 2 under with a five-shot lead. Most of the time that’s going to win. Kudos to Kevin.”
Four years ago Parel couldn’t have imagined having two wins and eight runner-up finishes to his credit. Now, though, he’s a guy ready to cash in more than 20 percent of the time.
“Look, don’t get me wrong. If you’d have told me a few years ago I’d have the kind of success I’ve had … I’m absolutely ecstatic,” Parel said. “I’m not disappointed in the year I’ve had. Probably a little frustrated. You’d like to win when you have those opportunities. Being in contention and getting those juices flowing is why we do this. But haven’t been able to do it (win this year0. It’s not all of my own doing. Other guys had a hand in it. I didn’t give anything away.
“This game is a game where you go in stretches. I feel like I can play well the rest of the year, but what are the chances I can be I contention that many more times? You’d like to take advantage when you can.”