Chayanun, Persson return to Austin: A site of past success

Mike Randleman

With a young team that features three freshmen in the starting lineup, the members of the ISU women’s golf team will take any advantage they can get.

At the next tournament, the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational in Austin, Texas, junior Cajsa Persson and senior Chonlada Chayanun will have an advantage of having past success at the University of Texas Golf Club (UTGC).

ISU head coach Christie Martens said her upperclassmen duo, who collaborated for four top-25 finishes at this course last year, could be a key to success against a field where 12 of 15 teams qualified for the NCAA regional championships last season.

“We know Texas’ course well so that’s going to be a positive for us,” Martens said. “We know our upperclassmen can give good information to our underclassmen.”

Chayanun, who finished tied for 16th place at last year’s event and tied for fourth at the 2014 Big 12 Championship in Austin said this is a course she has looked forward to heading back to.

“It’s a good course, I love it there,” Chayanun said. “The last time I finished in fourth at the Big 12, I feel really good about the course. I’m pretty confident.”

In six competitive rounds, Chayanun has recorded four rounds of par or better at the UTGC and has finished at even-par in both appearances. Her performance at the Big 12 Championship was a team best and helped the Cyclones to a fourth-place finish.

While Chayanun will go into this week with confidence from past success, she will not begin play pain-free. Chayanun has been nursing an injured wrist, a result of tendonitis, that has plagued her since this summer.

Her putting and chipping remain unaffected, but her full swings can result in pain and the injury has limited her in practice.

“When I hit it really good, it doesn’t hurt, but when I hit it bad, when I hit it thin, it starts to hurt,” Chayanun said after competing at the Windy City Collegiate Classic on Oct. 7.

Despite the injury, which is not expected to worsen by playing, Chayanun anticipates that she will be good to go and has undergone physical therapy, physical training and massages to aid the injury.

Chayanun’s pain-free teammate, Cajsa Persson, has also had her share of good fortune at the UTGC.

At the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational last fall, she posted two rounds in the 60s en route to finishing tied for fifth place individually and helped guide her team to a fourth-place finish. At the 2014 Big 12 Championship, Persson finished tied for 21st and notched her fourth round of par or better with a second-round 72.

“We got the feel for it, we have it in our head that we played well there this fall,” Persson said before last season’s Big 12 Championship. “I played really good on that course. I have a really good vibe coming from it.”

Along with their veteran experience, the Cyclones will also look to freshman Nattapan Siritrai to pick up where she left off.

Through two tournaments, Siritrai’s third-place finish at the Windy City Collegiate Classic on Oct. 7 was the team’s best individual finish thus far and the best freshman performance since Prima Thammaraks finished in second place at the Mountain View Collegiate in 2011.

After Siritrai struggled in her first collegiate event in September, Martens believes her efforts in the last tournament are more evident of her ability.

“She’s been putting in a lot of effort the past few weeks,” Martens said. “She was disappointed in how she played in New Mexico and I feel like this was what she is capable of.”