ISU women’s golf prepare to compete at nationals for first time in program history


Photo: William Deaton/Iowa State

Chayanun, who owns the ISU women’s golf program records in season stroke average, career stroke average, 54-hole score and 18-hole score, was named the 2014-2015 Iowa State Female Athlete of the Year

Mike Randleman

Set to compete in its first national championship in program history, the ISU women’s golf team is just trying to enjoy the moment.

With No. 23 Iowa State playing some of its best golf of the season, players said their mental attitude on the course will translate more to their success than any swing fix.

“Don’t be nervous, don’t put pressure on ourselves. I know this is the biggest tournament we have, but being nervous is not going to make anything better,” said junior Chonlada Chayanun. “Just go out and have fun and then just give everything you have.”

The sweating out of an intense final round at the NCAA Regionals to grab one of the final few spots at nationals at Tulsa Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., on May 20 was the first barrier the Cyclones had to break through.

Now the team looks forward to see what else can be accomplished.

“There’s nothing to lose,” sophomore Cajsa Persson said. “We’re there, we’re at our goal.”

Though Iowa State does not have the pedigree of some of the 24 teams that will compete in Oklahoma, Persson and Chayanun both said they have the talent to keep up with any team.

After reaching the goal of advancing to nationals, the Cyclones now find themselves reassessing their goals.

“We just need to stay positive [and] bring out the best in yourself,” Persson said. “If we can do that, we’ll prove why we made it and that we deserve to be there.”

ISU coach Christie Martens has kept from hyping up the tournament too much, focusing on improving her team in practice instead of adding unnecessary pressure.

Though players and coaches will fly to Tulsa by private plane and enjoy the accommodations that come with a trip to nationals, they are trying to treat it like any other tournament.

“I give every tournament the same importance. If I get too excited, I have pressure on me and I don’t think I’m going to play that good,” Chayanun said. “So I just try to be like, ‘Okay, this is just like any tournament,’ and try to be relaxed and just play normal golf like I’ve been playing.”

With a 7-28 comparative record against the other 23 teams in the field, Iowa State is far from a favorite. On the other hand, the expectations were not high for regionals either.

For Persson and her teammates, nationals will provide one last go-round to have fun as a team and send a message.

“We don’t pay too much attention to that stuff, but it was nice to advance when some thought we couldn’t,” Persson said. “We’re such a good team and it’s starting to show. If we just have fun and bring out our best selves, there’s nothing to lose.”