Chonlada Chayanun, Cajsa Persson look to lead ISU women’s golf


Photo: William Deaton/Iowa State

Head coach Christie Martins hugs Chonlada Chayanun after finishing round two of the 2013 Big 12 Women’s Golf Championship at the Harvester on April 20, 2013, in Rhodes, Iowa.

Mike Randleman

With three weeks to go before the ISU women’s golf team takes to the course for its first competition, a few questions remain unanswered.

Last year’s senior standouts Sasikarn On-iam and Prima Thammaraks along with locker room leader Katie Gustafson have all graduated, leaving this year’s leadership in new hands.

“Last year, I was a junior and we had three seniors. I was a bit of a follower, but now I have to be a leader. I have to change myself, too,” said lone senior Chonlada “Koy” Chayanun. “I don’t really talk a lot, I’m not a leader, but now I have to lead and teach everybody.”

While Chayanun works on her vocal leadership, her play in the postseason last May spoke volumes.

The Nakhonratchaslma, Thailand, native finished tied for fourth place at the Big 12 Championship and was in contention for the individual title at the NCAA Championship before finishing tied for seventh.

Although Chayanun could miss the first tournament of the season with tendonitis as a result of over-practicing in the offseason, head coach Christie Martens expressed little doubt for her longterm health and is confident in Chayanun’s ability to lead this year’s squad.

“I think that Koy is always the person who’s done things the right way, who wants to help the team in any way possible and wants to do the right thing,” Martens said. “I think that she’ll be really good at leading by example.”

Martens also spoke about her faith in junior Cajsa Persson to be a leader.

“Cajsa has always played a pretty vocal role on our team, and now that she’s a junior, she’ll definitely take that role very willingly,” Martens said.

Despite Martens’ confidence in her top two players, the remaining starting spots could be in flux.

Carmen Vidau, who started in all 11 events as a freshman last season, was in line to be the third starter but opted to leave the program after her freshman year to attend medical school in her native Spain.

Sophomore Pimrawee Huang and freshmen Celia Barquin, MJ Kamin and Nattapan “New” Siritrai will be competing for the three remaining starting spots.

As the 45th-ranked amateur in the world, Barquin may have the early upper hand in the competition for a spot in the lineup.

Barquin, who will make her way to Ames later this week from the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, competed in the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship with Persson. From the little Persson saw of Barquin, she was impressed with her game.

“I’ve heard Celia is supposed to be really good. We played one tournament together this summer. She’s a really good golfer, she’s really solid,” Persson said. “It’s going to be really exciting to see what she can do for the team.”

Team practices started the first week of class and players will begin qualifying for starting spots Aug. 29 in early preparation for the first of four fall tournaments, the Dick McGuire Invitational in New Mexico, on Sept. 15.