Women’s golf places fourth at Big 12s, learns NCAA regional destination


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

Before the tournament began, if Iowa State was guaranteed that three of five starters would finish in the top 10, it would have taken that result without hesitation.

Such a scenario played out for No. 37 Iowa State at the Big 12 Championship, but none of Iowa State’s starters were able to contend for an individual title to push the Cyclones over the top.

As a result, Iowa State finished with a 54-hole total of 881 (17-over-par), to place fourth out of nine teams at The Dominion Country Club in San Antonio, Texas.

“We played pretty good the first round and today was pretty solid,” said senior Chonlada Chayanun. “If we played yesterday how we played today, we would have finished second or third. We could have been second best, easily.”

A costly second round of 300 in between scores of 290 and 291 proved to be the main pitfall as Iowa State finished two shots off second place and one behind third, but was unable to keep pace with champion No. 26 Baylor, which cruised to a 12-shot victory.

The Cyclones were led by a trio of golfers throughout the week in freshman Nattapan Siritrai, junior Cajsa Persson and senior Chonlada Chayanun, who all tied for 10th place.

Siritrai bested the field scoring average in each round with scores of 73, 74 and 73, but lacked the sub-70 round to jump into the medalist chase.

Persson had nearly identical scores to Siritrai, though her round of 74 came in the final round. She and Chayanun both have two top-10 finishes in the last three Big 12 Championships.

The only Cyclone to post a sub-par round was Chayanun. Her one-under-par 71 in round one had her near the top five for the first half of the tournament, but a 77 in round two derailed her title aspirations.

The senior usually prefers to play without the guidance of ISU coach Christie Martens and assistant coach Pina Gentile, allowing the two to alternate with the other four starters.

In the final round, Chayanun was battling a balky putter and sought out Martens to get her back on track.

“I’m a person who doesn’t like coach to walk with me, but I felt like today I really needed her,” Chayanun said. “I got double-bogey on hole two and after coach came, she helped me a lot with everything. She helped me choose my clubs, helped me with the break [on putts]. After that, I was two-under.”

After the rocky start, Chayanun finished with an even-par round of 72 to claw back into the top 10.

Iowa State will next compete in the NCAA Regionals from May 7 to 9 at Lonnie Pool Golf Course in Raleigh, North Carolina.

2015 marks Iowa State’s sixth-straight regional appearance, but the team is looking for more in efforts to make nationals for the second year in a row and second time in program history.

“We can’t take it for granted that we’re making to regionals, but it’s also important to go there and play well to make it to nationals and the match-play [portion of the event],” Persson said. “We made nationals last year for the first time and we’re excited to try to make it again.”