The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

The student news site of Francis W. Parker School

The Parker Weekly

Teeing Up Success

State Competitor Deven Gupta ‘24 and The Golf Team Have Unforgettable Season
Photo credit: Deven Gupta
Deven Gupta at the boys golf State finals.

This year, the Parker Golf team has had one of  its best seasons in the team’s history according to players, with senior and captain Deven Gupta making it to the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) State Finals. 

Deven Gupta, who has been golfing since he was four, joined the Parker Golf team as a freshman and was elected captain after his junior season along with current seniors Alessandra Ozbek and Krish Malhotra. On October 7 in Bloomington, Illinois, he placed 39th in the state for class 1A competitors. Gupta’s run to State required practicing every day and making it through long and tiring Regional and Sectional rounds. At Regionals, Gupta shot a 70 which was one under par, and in addition to being the best score of his life, put him in first place in the tournament. 

“I’m still in shock,” Gupta said in a text after his Regionals performance.

Barely missing State his junior year, Gupta made it his goal to head to Bloomington as a senior. This year, Gupta spent a significant amount of time working on his golf game to get himself ready for the competitions ahead of him. 

Throughout Gupta’s years on the golf team, he struggled to deal with the pressure he faced while people would watch him compete. Having a focused mentality while competing is especially important when it comes to a precise sport like golf, which is why Gupta was so adamant about improving that skill. As time progressed, “I began to expect what it would be like every time I played in those tournaments, so I was able to take it and use it to my advantage,” Gupta said. 

Gupta still finds time to help the athletes who have less experience with golf. When he was a freshman on the team, Gupta felt as though he received less attention than some of the more advanced players. As a captain, Gupta would take time to go around the younger athletes and help them improve their golf game, which is what he “would have wanted as a freshman.”

Upper School math teacher and Parker Golf Coach Victoria Lee has been a part of the Golf team for four years. This year was Lee’s first year as the head Coach and Lee had thought of many changes to make to the Golf team to improve each and every player. 

In past years, the focus was primarily on the most advanced golfers, but Lee wanted to change that. “When I became the head coach, knowing that it was our fourth year of having over  twenty kids   on the golf team, we needed to establish some programming for them…up until then, we only had programming for about the top fifteen,” Lee said. 

The Diversey Driving Range is where the athletes practice. While practicing, driving and using irons is essential, but Lee also wanted to improve the putting skills of the golfers to be able to tackle the par three holes. She decided to put “driving clinics” in place for the JV white team as well as many “putting clinics” for the varsity players. Her idea was “to have three JV white kids playing at the par three, and then have one of our competitor members not playing. Instead, they’re teaching the JV white athletes what course etiquette is.”

Freshman Fiona Chazen is one of Parker’s few girls on the co-ed golf team. She has been playing golf for a few years but only started practicing and playing regularly this past year. Her main goal for this year was to “make JV Blue.” After effortlessly doing so, she worked hard to lower her scores so she could reach Sectionals and Regionals. At the start of the season, she was forced to play from the blue tees because Parker doesn’t have a specific girls team. As nervous as Chazen was, she still surpassed her expectations by keeping up with everyone on the JV team. 

After the end of the regular season, Chazen was excited for the upcoming Sectionals and Regionals. She said her way of training for the offseason was by “playing matches and practicing at the place I train at for golf.” Chazen fell just short of making it to State but she is excited about next season and will continue to practice and “work towards varsity, making Sectionals next year, and lowering my scores.” She plans to show other schools and Parker that girls can play golf too. 

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About the Contributor
Roshun Murthy, Staff Writer
Roshun Murthy is a sophomore who's excited for his first year of writing for "The Weekly" as a staff writer. Outside of "The Weekly" he enjoys answering questions for the Scholastic Bowl team and playing tennis for the Parker team.