Cyclones End Fall Campaign Ranked 25th Nationally
AMES, Iowa - The Iowa State women's golf team continued its upward trend as one of the top golf programs in the nation with another solid fall campaign on the links.
The Cyclones reached new heights in the national polls, rising as high as No. 14 in the nation on the heels of their victory at the Dick McGuire Invitational and tie for fifth at the Windy City Collegiate. It equaled the highest ranking in school history set during the 2010-2011 season.
Iowa State ended the fall season ranked 25th by Golfstat and 27th according to Golfweek.
"We've made a lot of progress," Iowa State head women's golf coach Christie Martens said. "Our depth really helped us cut out the poor rounds. Overall, we could have performed better, but I think we showed a lot of growth."
Facing competitive fields in every tournament, Iowa State opened up the season with a victory at the Dick McGuire Invitational. The team of four returning starters, Punpaka Phuntumabamrung, Prima Thamaraks, Sasikarn On-Iam and Chonlada Chayanun, joined true freshman Cajsa Persson to defeat five teams ranked in the preseason NGCA top-30 poll.
Persson, in her first collegiate tournament, fired three-straight rounds of 73 to tie for sixth (219) at the Dick McGuire Invitational to help the Cyclones record its fourth tournament title since 2010-11.
"Winning the Dick McGuire Invitational really helped us with our confidence," Martens said. "It showed us what we are capable of. We played a great fall schedule. We played against top teams every week, and that also helped us. They realized they are every bit as good, if not better, as the top teams in the country."
Iowa State used the same lineup in all four tournaments and the team's lone senior, Phuntumabamrung, remained the Cyclone leader. She tied for fourth at the Windy City Collegiate with her score of 216 tying for ninth-best-54-hole total in school history. It was her ninth career top-10 finish. The Bangkok, Thailand native led the team in stroke average at 73.8 and ended the fall ranked No. 81 nationally by Golfstat.
"She (Phuntumabamrung) has put in a lot of effort into her short game," Martens said. "Her senior year is so important for her and it shows how well she wants to finish her career."
On-iam posted a 74.8 stroke average, the second lowest scoring mark on team this fall. The junior had her best performance at the Mercedes-Benz Intercollegiate, posting a 218 to tie for 11th place. On-iam is ranked No. 173 in the nation by Golfstat.
All five Cyclones recorded stroke averages lower than 75.7.
The Cyclones have a lot to look forward to this spring as the team aims for their fourth-straight NCAA Regional appearance. The team kicks off its spring schedule playing against Northwestern on Feb. 3 in West Palm Beach, Fla. The Cyclones will also appear at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic on Feb. 10-12 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Iowa State will play host to the 2013 Big 12 Women's Golf Championships, April 19-21 at The Harvester Golf Course in Rhodes, Iowa.
Martens is hoping her team will be ready for the challenge.
"It will be awesome to have the Big 12 Championships at our home venue," Martens said. "Our players will be comfortable there and be confident with their shots. It will be great for our program to be there and have people supporting us."