Chayanun looks to build on historic resume at the Big 12 Women’s Golf Championship


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

When senior Chonlada Chayanun’s golf career comes to a close next month, it is destined to go down as one of the most illustrious in program history.

Despite the records, the wins and rounds in the 60s, a void persists on her resume as a Cyclone.

“My goal is to win the tournament as a team, I feel like we never win Big 12s,” Chayanun said of the Big 12 Championship, which is set for April 24 to 26 in San Antonio, Texas.

In her previous three Big 12 appearances, the Cyclones posted respectable team showings by placing in a tie for fourth place, third place and another tie for fourth out of nine teams.

Entering the tournament as the third-ranked team in the field at No. 34, according to Golfstat, Iowa State is once again projected for a similar finish.

With a sense of urgency for Chayanun as she enters the closing stretch of her collegiate career, Chayanun said she thinks Iowa State has the horses to compete for a title and outperform their projected finish.

“I’ve played with Kansas State and Kansas [this year],” Chayanun said. “I’ve played with so many Big 12 teams, and they’re good, too, but we definitely can beat them. I feel like we have a really good team this year.”

While the Cyclones lack the same luxury of depth on their roster as the likes of No. 11 Oklahoma State and No. 26 Baylor, their top two weapons in Chayanun and freshman Celia Barquin stand up to most one-two punches in the conference.

Chayanun enters the Big 12 Championship ranked No. 59 in the Golfstat individual rankings and is the sixth-ranked golfer in the field.

The duo of Chayanun and Barquin, who follows Chayanun closely behind at No. 65, have see-sawed as the highest-ranked Cyclone for the duration of the spring season. Their steady ascension into the top 100 is a result of a combined five top-10 finishes in four spring events, headlined by a Chayanun victory at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic in February.

Has their proximity in the rankings led to any sort of rivalry between the two teammates?

“I don’t think there is any competition for us,” Barquin said. “If she plays good, I’m going to be happy for her and the whole team. Maybe when we play against each other [in practice], but it’s a healthy thing.”

Barquin had an estimation of where the two stood in the rankings, but Chayanun prefers to stay out of the loop as far as individual rankings go, only catching a glimpse when it pops up on her Twitter or Facebook feeds.

“No, I don’t even know,” Chayanun said. “We don’t talk about that at all. I don’t really check my rankings unless it comes up.”

With a focus on the task at hand at the Big 12 Championship, Chayanun has faith in the freshmen trio that start for Iowa State in Barquin, M.J. Kamin and Nattapan Siritrai to hold up to the pressure.

Outside of course strategy talks or friendly conversation, Chayanun said she plans to continue to take the hands-off approach she has used over the course of the season as the lone senior on the roster.

The more quiet, measured leader prefers to avoid adding unneeded pressure by stressing the event’s importance or over-motivating her teammates.

“Other tournaments I don’t talk to them about that, so at Big 12s if I talk to them, I’ll make it seem really important and I don’t want to change their thought,” Chayanun said. “I want to treat it like other tournaments so that’s why we can do great. You’re going to do your best no matter what tournament it is anyway.”