ISU women’s golf season in review

Mike Randleman

In nearly every tournament of the ISU women’s golf team, the Cyclones seemed to almost always be in the mix, only to fall just short.

In 11 events, Iowa State never finished higher than third place, but never worse than six spots from last place, either.

The season came to a close at the NCAA regional tournament in Raleigh, N.C., as Iowa State was unable to reach the top six to advance to nationals, finishing in a tie for 10th place.

The Cyclones made regionals for the sixth-consecutive season, but had its hopes set on making nationals for the second time in program history after breaking through last season.

This middling level of success on the season for a team that finished 38th and 40th in the Golfweek and Golfstat rankings, respectively, came as a result of star power at the top and a drop off in the final three spots of the lineup.

Senior Chonlada Chayanun led Iowa State with a 73.1 scoring average on the year, the lowest season average in program history by nearly two shots per round.

Her season was highlighted by her victory at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic on Feb. 17.

“It feels pretty amazing, actually,” Chayanun said after the tournament. “I’m really happy because this is my first winning tournament in college. I’ve been here for four years and this is my first win.”

Though it would go on to be the only win of her career, the Nakhonratchaslma, Thailand, native racked up four top-10 finishes this season and posted rounds of 65 and 66, the two lowest 18-hole individual scores in program history.

The success Chayanun had this season was not totally envisioned, as she was not a prodigy entering Iowa State. Instead, she transformed her game after an average first two seasons as a Cyclone.

“The process of getting better, she did a great job of it,” ISU coach Christie Martens said in an article on “When you look at her videos from her freshman year, the transformation is insane. She went from being this little girl to, really, you don’t want to play against her now.”

Though Iowa State’s opponents won’t have to worry about Chayanun any longer, Celia Barquin could be a tough out going forward.

The freshman from Puente San Miguel, Spain, hit the ground running, nearly matching Chayanun’s output this season.

Barquin posted a 73.3 scoring average and led the team with five top-10’s. Without question, it was the most successful freshman campaign in program history.

While Chayanun’s transformation was in some ways unforeseen, Martens had an idea of the type of player she was getting from the start in Barquin.

“She’s probably one of the most accomplished freshmen we’ve had come to our program,” Martens said in September. “She has a lot of international experience, representing her country in the Youth Olympics and has played well [at] several different events around the world.”

The duo of Barquin and Chayanun finished the season ranked 49th and 55th, respectively, in Golfstat’s individual rankings.

While Iowa State’s one-two punch could hold up to almost anyone’s in the country, a lack of production from spots three through five in the lineup proved to be the team’s downfall.

Freshman Nattapan Siritrai showed glimpses of potential to be a top-100 player, leading or co-leading Iowa State on three occasions with three top-10 finishes.

Her season was feast or famine in many ways as she also had three finishes outside the top 50, though her scoring average of 74.61 bests Chayanun’s freshman output by over two shots per round.

The Cyclones hoped to receive more out of junior Cajsa Persson, who, after a scorching fall season in 2013 with three top-10’s, has been unable to maintain the same success.

On the season, Persson posted only one top-10 and her scoring average of 75.30 was up from 74.41 last season.

Due to the departures of sophomore Carmen Vidau before the season and sophomore Pimrawee Huang, who transferred to Marshall, at the midway point, Iowa State was left with only five on the roster for the spring season.

As a result, Iowa State was forced to rely on a third freshman, M.J. Kamin, who in normal circumstances would have been a likely redshirt candidate.

The lone Iowan on the team from Cedar Rapids did not break par in a round this season and had a stroke average of 80.61.

Looking forward to next season, Iowa State will feature a roster of five once again, as it stands now.

As one Thai will depart in Chayanun, another will enter the program.

Parinda Phokan, ranked No. 257 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, will have the chance to join the likes of Chayanun, Sasikarn On-iam, Bow Phuntumabamrung and Prima Thammaraks, among other Thais who have dominated the record books during Christie Martens’ tenure.

The Cyclones’ fall season will begin in September.