ISU women’s golf earns two victories in new match-play event


Jonathan Krueger/Iowa State Daily

Senior Prima Thammaraks practices a putt during practice.

Mike Randleman

Entering the week, the No. 24 ISU women’s golf team came to the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic with a chance to knock off some of the nation’s elite.

The Cyclones were unable to leave Georgia with a marquee win but will return to Ames as winners of 2 of 3 matches.

Despite the missed opportunity to notch a quality win, ISU coach Christie Martens was pleased with how her team handled playing in a new format, an experience that could pay dividends in the near future.

“You never know how people are going to do in match play, it’s a very different environment,” Martens said. “It’ll be interesting because our national championship will be going to that next year.”

The new tournament format implemented this season at the Liz Murphey is designed to emulate the new NCAA Championship format that will begin in 2015. A mix of stroke-play and match-play was used to determine this week’s champion in place of a traditional 54-hole stroke-play event.

After tying for 11th place in the 18-hole stroke-play qualifier, Iowa State was relegated to the lower of two eight-team brackets.

“It wasn’t tough to get re-motivated,” said senior Prima Thammaraks. “We were kind of disappointed that we were in the lower bracket, but it wasn’t like we were going to go out there and play bad just because of that.”

Martens said she was impressed with how her team bounced back, particularly freshman Carmen Vidau.

“Carmen played a lot better and was really competitive. Overall, with our whole team, Chonlada [Chayanun], Sasikarn [On-iam] and Cajsa [Persson] were all under par, and [Thammaraks] played well,” Martens said.

Vidau, fifth out of five ISU starters in season scoring average, was matched up against Indiana’s No. 1 starter, Ana Sanjuan. Vidau won a hard-earned 1-up victory to lead the Cyclones to a 4.5-0.5 victory over the Hoosiers.

In a regular stroke-play event, Martens said the strong second-round play likely would have brought Iowa State back into title contention. Instead, with only 18 holes to qualify for match-play, she said her team needed to play with a greater sense of urgency earlier on in the round.

“It’s disappointing just because we know that we’re a better team than that,” Martens said of missing out on the upper bracket that featured No. 1 University of Southern California and No. 4 Arkansas. “I wish we would’ve just had more time to show that because we played so well in the second round, but we knew that it was one round [to qualify].”

After a dominating win against Indiana, the Cyclones had another matchup with a Big Ten opponent, this time against No. 20 Michigan State.

Thammaraks, who earned the lone victory against the Spartans in a 4-1 defeat, said she thought the rest of the team played well but that the Spartans were just too much to handle.

“Sometimes it’s just hard to win if the person you’re playing against is making a lot of birdies,” Thammaraks said.

After a 4-1 loss in the second match, Iowa State bounced back to defeat Troy 3-1 to take third place in the “Black” bracket.

At tournament’s end, the pretournament excitement that came with playing in a new format still stuck with Thammaraks, even after missing out on the high finish she and her teammates had hoped for.

“It’s really fun to mix it up a little bit,” Thammaraks said. “I wish we could have played better teams. That would have been a lot more fun too, but it definitely gives us a good taste of how nationals will be next year.”