ISU women’s golf to begin season at UCF Challenge

Mike Randleman

The ISU women’s golf team will officially begin its spring season this weekend at the UCF Challenge, though the team has already gotten its competitive juices flowing.

The Cyclones are fresh off their intrasquad exhibition, the Alumni Match, played in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Feb. 2.

Though the event had no ramifications on rankings or post-season prospects, the match still featured some healthy competition.

“The match really sets the feeling of a tournament,” said senior Prima Thammaraks of the match, which pitted freshman Pimrawee Huang, junior Chonlada Chayanun and Thammaraks against freshman Carmen Vidau, sophomore Cajsa Persson and seniors Katie Gustafson and Sasikarn On-iam.

Some light-hearted trash talk, as well as a match-clinching chip-in added fuel to the competitive fire.

On the 18th hole of a tied match, with Persson lining up a putt for birdie, Thammaraks chipped in for birdie. Persson then missed her putt by inches, giving the win to Thammaraks’ side.

“Oh, they can talk trash all right,” Thammaraks jokingly said of Persson’s team.“But we’ve still got the game.”

Aside from regaining their competitive edge, the Cyclones also got to escape from the winter weather of Ames to practice outdoors.

“The first shot on grass felt like heaven,” Persson said. “Everyone was so pumped about it, it created a really good atmosphere.”

Playing outdoors, the team also was also able to become acclimated with a Bermuda grass course, as opposed to bent grass common in the Midwest.

“On Bermuda, a lot of courses have similarities,” said ISU coach Christie Martens. “They’re less undulating, more flat and heavily bunkered type of courses, just because of the type of landscape.”

Having adjusted to Bermuda grass could provide one less worry, the Cyclones will be forced to learn host site. Eagle Creek Golf Course is a track the team has not played in recent years.

The Cyclones will also be amongst a 19-team field that features nine top-50 teams in the Golfweek rankings, three of which are inside the top 25.

Despite the strong competition right out of the gate, the team is excited to escape the cold once more and show off improvements made during the winter off-season.

“I think we’re in a really good position going into the first tournament. Everyone’s pretty pumped and happy about their game,” Thammaraks said. “We’re excited to get out of the cold and just enjoy ourselves in nice weather and play some nice golf.”

Competition is scheduled to run Sunday through Tuesday at Eagle Creek Golf Course in Orlando, Fla.