Persson Off To Historic Start
AMES, Iowa - Sophomore Cajsa Persson turned many heads in the fall. The Jönköping, Sweeden, native recorded three top-10 finishes in her first three tournaments to kick off the year, an accomplishment achieved by only one other Cyclone, Missy Arthur, in 1994. Her three top-10s matches her total from all of last season.
Persson attributes her success to experience.
“When I got back for my sophomore year, I was just ready to play good golf,” Persson said. “I was just more comfortable here with the team and the language and just everything. I felt so much more comfortable and my confidence was so high.”
Persson is currently ranked 55th nationally in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings, but reached as high as 15th in the rankings during the fall schedule. All of these accomplishments paced the Cyclones to their highest ranking in the Golfstat and Golfweek/Sagarin rankings in school history (No. 13).
Iowa State women’s golf coach Christie Martens is pleased with Persson’s maturation into a star.
“Cajsa took a big leap in all aspects of her game,” Martens said. “She is a very mature player and she is fun to work with and is a super positive person. If she continues to take the steps she has made, she could be an All-American.”
Her 2013-14 campaign began at the Dick McGuire Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She led the Cyclones to a third place finish while finishing in a tie for seventh with a 54-hole tally of 218 (75-73-70).
From there, Persson and the Cyclones competed at the Windy City Collegiate Classic. It was no surprise that Persson found success there as well. She fired three consecutive rounds of sub-par or better golf (71-70-71) to finish with a 54-hole total of 212 to place her in a tie for fourth.
The Cyclones then went up against a solid field at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational in Austin Texas. The tournament featured five teams, including the No. 15 Cyclones, ranked in the Golfstat top-30.
Once again, Persson thrived. In her best tournament to date, she shot back-to-back 69s making her the first Cyclone ever to record back-to-back sub-70 rounds. She followed up these outstanding rounds with an even-par 72 on the final day for a 210 54-hole mark, good enough to tie for seventh.
Her tournament total of 210 has been bested by no other Cyclone and now sits as the lowest all-time 54-hole score in Iowa State history. She accredited her success at this tournament not to her physical game but to her mental game.
“I think my mental game was what was best there,” Persson said. “I was thinking the right things and I was focused on doing what I needed to do right now. I just focused on what I needed to focus on.”
Persson is re-writing Iowa State’s record book. She holds the lowest 54-hole score (210) in school history and the third-lowest 18-hole score (69-twice). Her career average of 74.41 is also the lowest scoring mark of any Cyclone ever. Persson’s 73.08 stroke average this season is well on its way to shattering the single-season stroke average (74.40) set by Punpaka Phuntumabamrung last year.
“It’s not about beating anyone in particular, it’s about going out and playing as well as you possibly can,” Persson stated. “It would be fun to have the record but I’m striving so much higher.”
Persson has spent this winter honing in her skills at the Cyclones’ brand new state-of-the-art Golf Performance Center.
“A lot of putting is always really important, but I really just want to work on combining my game all together and improve everything,” Persson said.
The 19th-ranked Cyclones will kick-off their spring season on Feb. 9 at the UCF Challenge in Orlando, Fla., as ISU aims for its record-setting fifth-straight NCAA Regional appearance.