Chonlada Chayanun finishes in top 10, ISU women’s golf takes 23rd at nationals


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

Making its first appearance at the NCAA National Championship, the ISU women’s golf team did not finish as high as it would have liked, but it did receive a career performance from one of its golfers.

The Cyclones finished in 23rd place out of 24 teams, but junior Chonlada Chayanun was a bright spot for her team.

Throughout all four rounds, Chayanun, known as Koy (pronounced “Goy”) by teammates and coaches, kept herself in the mix for an individual national championship and finished tied for seventh place at the tournament’s end.

With a tournament total of 2-over-par 282 (72+69+69+72), Chayanun finished eight shots behind individual champion Doris Chen of Southern California and 19 shots ahead of any other ISU golfer.

“Koy really stepped up and showed her leadership this tournament,” said Prima Thammaraks. “I was really proud of her. I think the coaches will have two great leaders [in Chayanun and Cajsa Persson] for next year.”

Before the tournament, Chayanun felt confident in her game but said her top 10 finish came as somewhat of a surprise.

“It feels amazing. I didn’t expect that to happen to me. I never think to finish [in the] top-10,” Chayanun said. “When we play in a tournament, I don’t say, ‘Okay, I want to finish in this place.’ I’m just going to do my best and it doesn’t matter what place I get.”

Despite her team’s lowest finish, she expressed pride in her teammates play during what was a tough week.

“I feel like we just gave all we had and it doesn’t matter what the result means.” Chayanun said. “If we give our best, then it doesn’t matter what [place] we get.”

Though Iowa State was unable to make progress on the leaderboard, it improved its 18-hole score in every round and got strong efforts from its two seniors in their collegiate finales.

Sasikarn On-iam shot an even-par 70 and Prima Thammaraks carded a 71, finishing tied for 94th and 105th place, respectively.

The duo posted the two best Cyclone individual scores in the final round and will end their careers with the two lowest scoring averages in ISU history.

“They have given so much and worked so hard to take our program to the next level,” ISU coach Christie Martens said in a press release. “We used to be a team that was happy to make regionals. They helped change that. They should be credited for raising our program.”

Looking back on their illustrious careers, Thammaraks could not help but let the emotions get the best of her after her final round as a Cyclone.

“As soon as Sas put her arms on my shoulder today, I knew it was going downhill,” Thammaraks said. “We just bawled, it was finally here, it was the end. We gave it a great run.”