NORMAN — Oklahoma women's golf coach Veronique Drouin-Luttrell sat in her office in 2010 with Chirapat Jao-Javanil, selling her program to the then-recruit from Thailand.
“I told her that I really thought she could be the first first-team All-American to ever play at OU,” Drouin-Luttrell said.
Two years later, Jao-Javanil has accomplished that very feat, earning first-team All-America honors after becoming OU's first women's golf individual national champion.
“I think she remembered that moment,” Drouin-Luttrell said. “At the time I don't think she really knew what it meant, but now she is a first-team All-American.”
Jao-Javanil won the NCAA title last weekend in Franklin, Tenn., defeating runner-up Brooke Pancake of Alabama by four strokes. Her performance lifted OU's team, ranked 28th nationally entering the tournament, to a tie for sixth place out of 24 teams competing, just nine shots behind team champion Alabama.
Jao-Javanil entered the tournament ranked 59th.
“Mentally, I changed in a way,” she said. “I kind of stopped looked at the scores ... and just wanted to have fun playing golf. I think that helped me excel in striking the ball and making putts. When you take the pressure out of the game, then the fluidity starts coming and I start to score better.
“I feel like everyone has an equal chance from the first hole to the 72nd hole. You never know what's going to happen with golf.”
She joins men's golfers Walter Emery (1933) and Jimmy Vickers (1952) as OU's only individual golf champions.
“It's pretty cool to be a part of that history,” Jao-Javanil said. “It's an honorable thing.”
All five of the OU women's golfers return next season, and Drouin-Luttrell said Jao-Javanil's title will help elevate her program in the future.
“It's big for us, and OU golf in general, even on the men's side,” the coach said. “Now we're going to be recognized nationally as one of the teams that can contend at a national championship. It's really exciting.
“We don't have anybody graduating, which is exciting for us. We were nine shots behind the first team, so I think we've got a shot.”