Experience, course knowledge breed confidence for ISU women’s golf at Big 12 Championships


Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Daily

Senior Sasikarn On-iam follows through with a shot at practice.

Mike Randleman

At the Big 12 Championships, the ISU women’s golf team will have no shortage of experience.

No. 24 Iowa State will head to Austin, Texas with a combined nine Big 12 Championship starts between its five starters. The Cyclones will also have a benefit having already competed at host course, UT Golf Club, earlier in the season.

In October, the Cyclones competed at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational in Austin and placed fourth out of 18 teams in a field filled with top-50 teams.

“It really makes us feel comfortable. We know that we played really good there, we love the golf course,” said senior Sasikarn On-Iam, who tied for 14th place in Austin. “We’re really pumped. Pretty much every day we say we can’t wait to go back again.”

Along with On-Iam, sophomore teammate Cajsa Persson has fond memories both of Austin and of last year’s Big 12 Championship. Persson finished tied for fifth place at both events and said she feels comfortable heading back to the Lonestar State.

“We got the feel for it, we have it in our head that we played well there this fall,” Persson said. “I played really good on that course. I have a really good vibe coming from it.”

As one of three teams in the field to have competed in Austin in October, Persson and the Cyclones will look to use their course knowledge as an advantage against some of the strongest teams in the nation.

All nine Big 12 teams are ranked inside the top 100 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, three of which, including Iowa State, are in the top 25. Iowa State has a 6-1 comparative record against Big 12 foes in the regular season, but has yet to meet No. 13 Oklahoma and finished below No. 15 Oklahoma State in their only matchup.

Iowa State has struggled against top-25 competition with a 4-28 comparative record, but in playing the 36th-toughest schedule, the Cyclones compiled a 66-43-1 record against top-100 teams.

As a result of the body of work Iowa State has built, ISU coach Christie Martens and her team earned a spot in the final pairing on Friday, reserved for the conference’s top three teams.

“I think that’ll be a lot of fun just to go out and have all the Big 12 schools, it should be great competition,” Martens said. “It [being in the final pairing] shows the entirety of our body of work, for our play throughout the season. But everyone starts at zero.”

Her team will also look to notch the program’s first conference championship since April 1993, a milestone that occurred before three current Cyclones were even born.

The team came close last season, finishing in third place while hosting at The Harvester Golf Club in Rhodes, Iowa.

Looking back on last year, Martens believes her team has learned what it takes to finish at the top, a feat the Cyclones fell just seven shots shy of in 2013.

Iowa State will tee off at 8 a.m. April 25. The second round will take place Saturday, with the third and final round to be played Sunday.