SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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September 25, 2012

Parr for the course: Salem senior has provided inspiration and leadership for Witches

SALEM — The scores have gone down, but the attitude remains steady.

Four years after picking up golf on a whim and joining the Salem High team as a freshman, senior Will Parr has climbed the ranks for the Witches, advancing from an inexperienced JV player all the way to No. 3 on Salem’s varsity ladder.

Shaving 10, 15, maybe even 20 strokes off a scorecard over the course of 3-4 years isn’t unusual for your typical young golfer.

Parr is not your typical golfer, however.

Born with a rare disease called progressive neurofibromatosis, which causes tumors to grow throughout the body, Parr has had multiple surgeries to have his right leg amputated just above the knee.

He has never let the disease slow him down, and is admired by his teammates and classmates.

“Every day he has amazed me and impressed me, both as a person and a golfer,” Salem golf coach Tom Doyle said. “We’re very lucky to have him in the program.”

Parr was once a player who provided inspiration to his teammates, but has become much more than that. Although Salem has struggled to a 2-6 start this season, Parr has developed into one of the team’s most consistent players, and his time spent in the Witches’ program makes him one of the most experienced.

Still, Parr downplays his importance to the team.

“Well, I haven’t improved that much,” Parr said. “I went from maybe shooting high 50s, maybe mid-50s on a good day to shooting mid-to-high 40s. If I’m really having a bad day, I can still go a little over 50.”

Doyle sees Parr’s improvement much differently.

“He’s improved his game probably 15-20 strokes,” Doyle said. “It went from being a fun thing as a freshman; he was learning the game and learning just to play all the different shots. Each year he’s been drastically better. The first two years he was a JV player, then last year he stepped up and made varsity. This year he’s flirting with the No. 2 spot.”

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