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Chainsaw wielding jugglers, guitar-playing guys in turbans on roller skates, and steroid-juiced musclemen whose necks are so wide their shoulders just merge with the base of their skull - those are Mikaela Parmlid's neighbors. And she likes all of them.
Now that Parmlid has equipped herself with a "quiet mind," nothing that will rattle her gets a permit to enter her psyche - not the nonstop freak show surrounding her adopted home in California's ultra-eccentric Venice Beach, and certainly not a bad swing here or there or a putt that wanders off-line.
Parmlid used that quiet mind to nuance her way to a 9-under par 62 early yesterday in the third round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic and quietly slipped into the temporary lead of the event at 12 strokes under par. When the day was complete, she was tied for fourth, six shots behind leader Eunjung Yi.
Parmlid had eight birdies on the final 11 holes, and on No. 12 just missed an eagle that would have put her on the verge of shooting 60. She just barely missed an eagle chip and a short come-backer of a putt that lipped out, forcing her to settle for a par on the hole.
"I wanted to make that pitch so badly," Parmlid said. "But you know, it's working in between shots - that's really where you have to have the quiet mind, at least for me. I work really hard on it. I think that's one of the keys to learning success - you learn how to work under pressure, then you find ways to comfort those [moments]."
Parmlid was a top amateur player in her native Sweden when she was recruited to play about as far from home as she could get - at the University of Southern California. She won five collegiate tournaments while at USC and was the 2003 NCAA individual champion. She received a degree in economics from Southern Cal and joined the LPGA tour in 2004.
Parmlid has only made three cuts in the seven tournaments she has played in this year before the Farr, and a tie for ninth in a 2008 event is her best finish to date. She repeated that ninth-place effort at this year's LPGA Farr Classic. Her previous best professional round was a 64, but Parmlid had notions of blowing that score away at Highland Meadows yesterday.
"I really felt like I could shoot 54. For the first time in my life, I thought I could shoot really, really low," she said. "It was just unbelievable. I could just keep making birdies. And I wasn't nervous. I could just keep it going."
Parmlid said she will enter today's money round of the Farr with a different perspective than she's had in pervious years on the tour. Back inside that mind where things are so peaceful and subdued, she has assumed command of the control center.
"I'm finding myself and trusting myself," she said. "I've trusted other people more than myself, and this year I don't trust anyone else but myself. It's really working."
Parmlid, who said she was certain her father was watching her one-bogey, nine-birdie round in the middle of the night back home in Sweden, comes from the seaside town of Goteborg. It doesn't have the curbside tarot card readers, the henna tattoo artists, or the legions of aspiring reggae singers that her Venice Beach neighborhood has, but the two distant locales have one critical essential in common, and that's enough for Parmlid.
"It's the ocean. As long as I'm near the ocean, my mind is pretty peaceful," she said.
The last time northwest Ohio was close to the ocean was likely during the Ordovician period, about 450 million years ago, when a vast aquamarine expanse of water covered parts of the Buckeye State, Kentucky, and Indiana. For Parmlid, that is apparently close enough.
"I have a super quiet mind, and because I am a very fiery kind of person, that's important," she said.
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