Women’s golf overcomes rocky start to reach No. 4 spot

Mike Randleman

After tying for fourth place at the Big 12 Championship, the ISU women’s golf team left Texas with a mix of emotions.

No. 24 Iowa State received a season-best performance from junior Chonlada Chayanun and the team climbed the leaderboard with strong play in the final two rounds. A slow start, however, put a damper on a conference championship, which was a goal players and coaches felt was within reach.

“I think we could’ve played better. The second and third day we played pretty good, but we started off pretty badly the first day,” said Chayanun, who tied for fourth place.

The Cyclones struggled in the first round with a 14-over-par round of 302 that put them in eighth place out of nine teams.

Chayanun attributed the early-tournament struggles to some nervousness and a lack of energy.

“Maybe we got a little bit nervous because it was Big 12s or something, because we started off pretty bad. I think we know we have to have the energy on the first day,” Chayanun said. “We can’t just play well on the second and third day. We have to keep our energy up and be cheering for each other.”

With 36 holes to play, the Cyclones refocused and came out with new energy to close out the tournament.

In bouncing back with rounds of 293 and 291, Iowa State climbed four spots on the leaderboard after day one. The team found itself within seven shots of the lead midway through the final round before No. 13 Oklahoma pulled away for a victory.

Senior Prima Thammaraks said for her and the team, adjustments in the mental, rather than physical, aspect of the game were needed to right the ship.

After every round during the season, players reflect on their rounds in a journal. Thammaraks delved into her entries to revisit her attitude when she was playing well and compared it to her attitude in the first two rounds.

“Sometimes you can be overly confident and when something just breaks your confidence it’s hard to gain it back again,” Thammaraks said of a mindset that plagued her in posting rounds of 77 and 76. “I think I was just too aggressive and made bad decisions instead of being patient.”

With a more measured approach, Thammaraks was one of three Cyclones to post their best score of the tournament in the final round.

Chayanun posted a team-best 71 and Sasikarn On-iam parlayed a final-round score of 72 to put herself in the top 10 at a tie for ninth place. In four appearances at the Big 12 Championship, On-iam has finished in 25th place or better in every event.

Though Iowa State did not start the tournament the way it would have liked, its strong finish and performances from Chayanun and On-iam allow for optimism heading into NCAA Regionals.

“I’m excited for regionals and I think we have a good team,” Thammaraks said. “From the way we played in the last round it was clear we can play with anyone and now we’re just trying to keep it going.”

Iowa State will head to Tumble Creek at Suncadia Resort in Elum, Wash. for the NCAA West Regional on May 8 through 10.