Warissara “Mind” Puangcharoen kicked off 2015 in a very big way. In her senior year at the IJGA, the Chonburi, Thailand, native announced she will head to Marquette, Michigan, next fall thanks to her commitment to Northern Michigan University (NMU). There, she will serve as a member of the Wildcats inaugural women’s golf team for the 2015-2016 academic year.
The Division II member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced earlier this year the addition of not one but four varsity sports, on that list being women’s golf. With a roster to fill with talent, the Wildcats’ coaching staff took a strong interest in Puangcharoen.
Committed to her road to success, Puangcharoen used the summer of 2014 to spark her road to college. She devoted significant time and energy to not only her golf game but also to her participation in the IJGA’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Hailing from Thailand, her native tongue was Thai but her success in academics would depend on her grasp of the English language. She spent long hours working with the staff and tutors of Heritage Academy to build her knowledge of the language, taking a break from her studies only for her golf game.
Puangcharoen quickly became accustomed to tournament golf in the United States playing in the 2014 IJGT Bridgestone Tournament of Champions and finishing in 8th place. In June, she was victorious at the IJGT Summer Series at Crescent Pointe where she carded 75-75.
Arguably, Puangcharoen’s best performance came in July at the North & South Junior where she finished in a tie for fourth place. In August, she competed in the AJGA Qualifier at Barefoot Resort in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., where she tied for first in the Girls Division and achieved AJGA medalist honors with her 4-over-par 75 performance.
That was just the beginning though. Continuing with her momentum, Puangcharoen’s days are filled with daily training at IJGA with her coaches, Sue Lee and Alex Puchales, to further refine her game and rigorous academics at Heritage Academy. Her English continues to improve, as do her grades. In the spare time she manages to find, Puangcharoen follows an individualized tournament schedule for an opportunity to expand her competitive prowess.
Over the course of the first half of the fall 2014 season Puangcharoen has competed in five events, never finishing lower than eighth. She opened her senior fall season with the IJGT College Series at NC State where she took home third. Propelled by an impressive six birdies, Puangcharoen finished just six strokes behind the tournament’s winner. She added three additional top-10 finishes in IJGT events before having perhaps her most impressive performance this season with a second-place finish at the IJGA Invitational in December of 2014. Playing PGA Tour-tested courses at Sea Pines Resort, the ambitious senior carded par or better on all but one hole in her first round at the Ocean Course to finish at even par (72) for her best round of the event.
She will look to continue her improvement in the spring season, as she hopes to bring home her first tournament title and works towards the anticipated IJGT Tournament of Champions at Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Fla., this coming May.
Congratulations to Puangcharoen on this milestone in her golf career!