Cyclones travel to Lady Puerto Rico Classic


Iowa State freshman Parinda Phokan swings her club at practice on April 19. 

The Lady Puerto Rico Classic will be Iowa State’s second competition of the spring season. The women’s golf team has played in this same tournament for the past 12 years dating back to the 2007-08 season.

The 18th-annual Lady Puerto Rico Classic will be hosted by Purdue University. This year’s classic will be played at the Rio Mar Country Club River Course in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, and it will last three days from Sunday through Tuesday.

The Rio Mar Country Club River Course is regarded as one of the best courses in all of Puerto Rico as it sits between the mountains of El Yunque Rainforest and the Atlantic Ocean. Tom and George Fazio designed the 6,716-yard course with help from two-time Major Champion Greg Norman. 

The field for this year’s classic will provide Iowa State with quite the challenge. All 15 schools are rated as a top 100 program in the country according to GolfWeek’s rankings.

Coach Christie Martens, and her team should have every opportunity to finish near the top of the leaderboard. Oklahoma State is the highest-ranked team in the field, and at last week’s UCF Challenge the Cyclones only trailed the Cowboys by 10 strokes at the end of the competition. This should give Iowa State confidence that it can hang with any team in this field.

Freshman Liyana Durisic and sophomore Taglao Jeeravivitaporn will look to carry their momentum from last week’s tournament into this one. Both golfers individually finished tied for 12th at the UCF Challenge, as they will look for some of the same success in Puerto Rico.

Durisic is currently the highest-ranked Cyclone on GolfWeek’s individual rankings. The freshman is positioned as the 106th best golfer in the country.

If she wants to make a run to the top of the leaderboard she will have to go through Georgia’s Caterina Don. Georgia’s star freshman will be the highest-ranked golfer at the classic as she is believed to be one of the 20 best golfers in the entire country.

As a team, Iowa State is still posted as the 43rd best in all of the land. Rio Mar Country Club’s River Course has a par of 72. The River Course is known for slightly narrow fairways that are frequently lined by water hazards.

More importantly there are large greens and shallow bunkers which will be great conditions for low numbers.

Last week, the Cyclone’s biggest problem was their inability to string together a streak of red numbers on the scorecard. They finished with nearly 20 fewer birdies than the winning team, Kent State.

The weather for Sunday morning in Rio Grande is forecasted to be 84 degrees and sunny, with 15 mph winds. Puerto Rico is often referred to as the “Island of Enchantment,” and all teams competing this week will look to find some of Puerto Rico’s magic.