Florida State senior star Caroline Westrup wasn't halfway through the final day's round at last month's ACC golf championships when it hit her.
"I was really tired," she said.
Not that she admitted it or even alluded to the reason for a dip in strength and stamina. She was back on the course after battling mononucleosis, an ordeal that included a couple of trips to a Tallahassee hospital, once for a 103-degree fever.
"It took a lot for her to play and even walk the 54 holes," said freshman Whitney Wenglasz, who played at Northside Christian and East Lake as a prep.
But Westrup, FSU's three-time All-American and four-time All-ACC pick, shot her best round, 3-over 74, to help the Seminoles finish sixth.
FSU was selected for the NCAA field, joining Florida and 19 other teams at the NCAA East Region that begins today in Gainesville. The top eight teams and two individuals from the three-day event advance to the NCAA finale May 19-22. That means another shot for Westrup to play like she expects — er, demands — of herself.
You see, she's not simply driven to succeed.
She's as afraid of failure as others are of spiders and snakes.
"Caroline does everything possible to win, and there aren't excuses why she wasn't a winner," said former FSU player and assistant Katie Quinney, who's in her first year at NCAA East region-bound Coastal Carolina.
No matter if the opponent is mono, which contributed to her 14-over par at the ACC.
Or if the opponent is a standardized test she needed to take to show proficiency in English as an international applicant to FSU; a test the native of Sweden didn't score high enough on four years ago.
"I was playing a tournament at the time at home and got the message I needed five more points," she said. "It was a hard message to get. But I don't give up. If I want something, I'm going to work hard for it."
So she studied English and did well enough on a retake to be admitted for the spring semester in 2006.
A risk? Hardly. She has a 3.7 grade point average as a sports management major (with a minor in communication), was named to the National Golf Coaches' Association All-America Scholar team as a sophomore and junior and needs just two classes to graduate (which she plans to take in the fall after turning pro this summer).
Although she initially planned to stay in college just two years, she said, "Education has been a big passion." And she wanted to have a degree to prepare for a second act in life. Not that she doesn't project as a stellar pro. She has the rare ability to control the ball's distance.
"That kid doesn't hit a shot that's not pin high," FSU coach Debbie Dillman said. "It may be left or right, but it's not going to be long or short."
Westrup won the Women's World Amateur Championship in 2006, led Sweden to a second-place finish at the European Ladies Team Championship in 2007, was third at the 2007 British Amateur Open and has had three straight top-5 finishes at the NCAA region tournament.
"I'm really focused, and I'm really goal-oriented," said Westrup, who has finished tied for 13th, tied for 11th and 29th at the past three NCAA tournaments.
"I've gone through some rough stages, when you haven't been picked up for a team (in Sweden) that you thought you were going to be on or when you're not playing as well as you wanted or (like) when I didn't get into Florida State right away. I needed to fight for that so much more than other people needed to, and I grew from it. I've gotten stronger from all of it."