ISU women’s golf travels to Dallas for regular season finale


Senior Chonlada Chayanun competed in her final tournament as a Cyclone at the NCAA regional tournament in Raleigh, N.C. She tied for 12th place out of 96 golfers.

Mike Randleman

With heated hitting bays, an indoor putting green and a golf simulator, among all the amenities at the team’s practice facility, the ISU women’s golf team is better equipped to handle the winter months than ever.

Despite the luxuries now afforded to the ISU golfers, nothing can top the real thing.

Now that spring has arrived in Ames and local golf courses have begun to open, there is a sense of a renewal among the Cyclones. Even with only one regular season tournament remaining, the Dallas Athletic Club/Southern Methodist Invitational, a new energy has been found.

“This week we actually practiced outside on the course, we practiced at Coldwater [Golf Links],” said senior Chonlada Chayanun. “Now we can actually play 18 holes. We get a feel for playing a real course now.”

For southern teams, the luxury of year-round practice can provide an advantage against their northern foes, one that is nearly unmatched in collegiate athletics, save for baseball.

“Practicing inside isn’t bad. We can work on our wedges and I really saw improvement,” said freshman Celia Barquin. “But when we get outside, hopefully it helps how we’re going to do in the next couple of tournaments.”

Now that the playing field is evening out with warmer weather reaching much of the country, No. 31 Iowa State expects improvement on a season that has already seen the Cyclones hang tight with their southern competition.

In seven of eight events, Iowa State has finished on the upper half of the leaderboard against what Golfweek currently ranks as the 36th most difficult schedule in the NCAA.

If the team is going to hit its stride as Barquin alluded to, there is no better time than now to do so with the Big 12 Championships, the NCAA Regional and perhaps the NCAA Championship all approaching in the next six weeks.

This week, the Cyclones will have a dry run of sorts for the conference tournament as six of nine teams set to compete at the Big 12 tournament will descend on the Dallas Athletic Club on Friday and Saturday to compete for the final regular season title of the year.

Heading the field is Iowa State’s Big 12 rival, Oklahoma State.

Iowa State is the fourth highest ranked team in a field of 16 teams, slotted behind No. 14 Oklahoma State, No. 24 UC Davis and No. 27 Miami.

The Cyclones own a 13-7 comparative record against this week’s opponents, including a 4-4 record against the top three ranked teams.

Thirty-six holes will be played on Friday and 18 holes will round out the tournament on Saturday. For rounds one and two, Iowa State will play alongside No. 24 UC Davis and the host team, No. 43 Southern Methodist, with a shotgun start in round one beginning at 8 a.m.

With the team’s goals resting heavily on making it to nationals for the second year in a row after breaking through for the first time in 2014, Chayanun said the Cyclones have yet to talk much about the postseason, instead devoting full attention to their final regular season tuneup.

“We haven’t talked about [the postseason] yet, we just focus on what’s coming up,” Chayanun said. “We’re just focusing on this tournament and then after this tournament, we’re going to focus on Big 12s. We’re not worrying about the future.”