The rain earlier this year that made farmers smile and golfers pull out their umbrellas was preparing Marian Barker for a big win.
Marian (seen in photo at left with her husband Larry after winning this year's Bogey Buster) won the Texas Golf Association Women’s Senior Stroke Play Championship at Northgate Country Club in Houston by six strokes last month, shooting 74-76-77.
It was Marian’s third win in this event and first time since she won back-to-back in 2008-09.
It was wet and cold all three days of the 54-hole event, making low scores harder. Marian was the only player to shoot all three rounds in the 70s.
“The weather being crummy helped. The first day it was cold and drizzly,” she said of shooting the opening round 74. Only one other woman shot under 80 and that was the second-place finisher, who shot a 79.
Marian said the Bogey Buster had some bad weather as did some other tournaments this season.
“Evidently it was good practice,” she said.
After two days, she had a nine-stroke lead.
“I had never been in a place where I had a nine-shot lead,” she said. “It was kind of uncomfortable. I played conservatively on the final day. I just needed to play without any terrible, disastrous holes.”
For example, Marian teed off with her driver only four times the final day, teeing off with her 5-wood or hybrid. On the first two days, she teed off with her driver on every hole.
“Some shots into greens were a little bit longer,” she said of the final day. “By the end of the final round I used every club in my bag. One par 5 could have been reachable in two shots, but there were a lot of bunkers and I could have made a big number.”
“It was not a long course, but it’s a target course and you needed to be in position to hit greens, which were very small. Because it was wet and muddy you needed to keep the ball in the air longer,” said Marian.
“I’m just happy to have won it, it was a good win. This is such a prestigious event and you look at the names on the trophy. It’s pretty special.”
Marian has been so successful on the golf course, some of her friends expect her to win, but she points out a lot of work goes into her game.
“Sometimes people are surprised if you don’t win and they ask ‘what happened’, but there are a lot of good senior players and I had the best score only one day. Texas is a big old state,” she said.
“I play almost every day and spend a lot of time practicing. We work at it and it’s not like everybody lays down so we can just win. Like any sport, as soon as you get away from home you find people who are a lot better real quick,” Marian said.
After winning her overall fourth Texas Golf Association state championship, Marian has her sights set on something bigger.
“I’d like to try for the (U.S. Women’s) Senior Open someday,” Barker said.
A story on the Texas Golf Association website contributed to this story.