Senior earns first collegiate victory at Lady Puerto Rico Classic


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

At times, it was five shots. At others, it was nine and each number in between. Whatever Chonlada Chayanun’s lead was in the final round of the Lady Puerto Rico Classic, it was never in doubt.

The senior notched her first collegiate victory by five shots in wire-to-wire fashion against a field that featured five top-25 teams and more than a dozen individuals in the top 100 of the Golfweek rankings.

Though Chayanun’s victory came in one of Iowa State’s traditionally toughest tournaments, the stingiest opponent for her to overcome may have been rebounding from a near miss just one week prior to the event.

At the UCF Challenge on Feb. 10, Chayanun held a share of the lead heading into the final round. After six career top-10 finishes, she was as close as she had ever come to finding the winner’s circle, but had a day to forget after posting a nine-over-par round of 81 to fall to a tie for 24th place.

“I learned a lot of things from the last tournament, the last round I played bad and I just learned from that and put it toward this tournament,” Chayanun said. “Last tournament I shot 81 because it was windy and I kept adjusting my putting and tried to play with the wind and it just didn’t work at all. This tournament I was just pretending that there was no wind and played normal.”

Her simplistic approach paid off as she became the first Cyclone to earn solo medalist honors since Kendra Hanson in 2007.

“It feels pretty amazing, actually,” Chayanun said. “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.”

It would have been No. 33 Iowa State’s first team win in three years, but the Cyclones finished in third place, eight shots shy of earning an ISU sweep.

Iowa State briefly held a two-shot lead midway through the final round, but a late surge from the Razorbacks and some blunders from the Cyclones on the back nine resulted in a seven-shot lead against No. 16 LSU.

Celia Barquin was one Cyclone who tamed Rio Mar Country Club’s back nine in the final round. She closed with a back-nine 35 to finish with a 71 and a tie for 20th place out of 82 golfers.

In her freshman campaign, Barquin has led or co-led her team in four of six events this season and is Iowa State’s highest-ranked golfer. Nonetheless, Barquin was displeased with her first and second rounds of 74 and 77, which kept her out of medalist contention.

“The first round I was two-over[-par], which is not really a good result,” Barquin said. “My second round was awful, the whole thing was really bad. Then finally my last round, I tried to do better and keep calm and no worries. It was much better, but I’m still not playing really good.”

Barquin said she already has her sights set on working toward the team’s next event, which will come in the form of the Hurricane Invitational on March 2 in Coral Gables, Fla.

With another win in Florida, Chayanun would become the first back-to-back victor during ISU coach Christie Martens’ 11-year tenure at Iowa State.