Las Cruces, N.M. Kansas University freshman Yupaporn “Mook” Kawinpakorn won her first tournament at the college level, and the Jayhawks won the team title Wednesday at the Price’s “Give ’Em Five” Intercollegiate at the New Mexico State University Golf Course.
KU shot a three-round school-record 871 to beat 32nd-ranked Washington State by 10 strokes. The Cougars shot a three-round 881, and Idaho was third at 883 in the 13-team field. The Jayhawks improved every round with a 294 Monday, 289 Tuesday and an even-par 288 Wednesday. KU entered Tuesday’s second round in second place and took a three-stroke lead into Wednesday’s final round. The previous three-round record for KU was an 874 set in Spring 2007 at the Mountain View Collegiate in Tucson, Ariz.
“They were all really clicking,” KU coach Erin O’Neil said. “They were all hitting the ball well. Their short game was strong and they made a lot of birdies.”
The win was KU’s second straight. The Jayhawks won the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational Sept. 24-25, 2012, in Lawrence. This marks first time since the fall 1988 season that the Jayhawks have won back-to-back tournaments.
“At our home tournament, we went into the last day with a lead so I think that was good preparation for being in the same situation this week,” O’Neil said. “They were definitely more comfortable with the belief that they could win it.
“It’s great to win on your home course, but it’s even better to go somewhere else and do the same thing on a course that you are not as familiar with,” said O’Neil whose current squad is her first to have won two tournaments in the same semester since she took over the Kansas program in 2004.
Kawinpakorn won the individual title with a three-round 213, which was three strokes ahead of runner-up Kaitlyn Oster of Idaho. Kawinpakorn led from start to finish in the 76-golfer field shooting a 3-under 69 Monday, a 1-under 71 Tuesday and a 1-over 73 Wednesday.
“Mook played very, very steady,” O’Neil said. “She’s hitting the ball well. We got her a new driver and that helped a lot. She has a great short game. Everything was firing (for her). She’s a very competitive player and worked hard.”
Kawinpakorn’s individual title was the first for a KU golfer since Grace Thiry won the Marilynn Smith Sunflower Invitational in Sept. 2010. Her three-round 213 was the lowest for a Kansas women’s golfer since Amanda Costner shot a 212 in Fall 2005.
“It has been two years since I won a tournament so this is a great feeling,” Kawinpakorn said. “I hit my driver really, really well this week and gave myself a lot of birdie opportunities. I had a lot of energy.”
KU junior Thanuttra Boonraksasat finished tied for 10th individually with a 220. She and teammate Gabby DiMarco each fired a 1-under 71 on Wednesday to lead the KU squad. DiMarco ended the event tied for 15th with a 222, while junior Meghan Potee shot a 78 in her final round and tied for 24th with a 225 (+9). Senior Audrey Yowell shot a 1-over 73 Wednesday and ended with a 226 (+10) which tied for 31st individually. Yowell shot a 1-over in her final two rounds of the tournament.
Kansas freshman Ann-Kathrin Wuensch competed as an individual and carded a three-round 232 which tied for 53rd.
“I felt they fed off each other,” O’Neil said. “They have a very good chemistry and you can tell that they believe in themselves and they can do it. It’s something as coaches that we see and we know they have it but it really doesn’t matter until they believe it themselves. Everyone here believes they can do it.”