It was the final round of the Idaho State Tournament, and Amy Hasenoehrl — then a senior in high school — stood five strokes behind the leader before the final round.
She walked off the course after the final round with a 7-under-par 65 — enough to tie the leader and force a play-off hole.
After sinking a birdie putt in the play-off, Hasenoehrl became a state champion.
Hasenoehrl had a self-proclaimed late start in golf. It began as a hobby, a way to spend time with her father and brother.
In September, Hasenoehrl embarked on her last collegiate season.
She began the quest for a collegiate career during her sophomore year of high school. The first generation college student said she was banking on a scholarship to continue golfing.
Location helped Hasenoehrl make the decision. Growing up in Lewiston, she said her options were slim.
“I knew I wanted to stay close,” Hasenoehrl said. “So when I came up here, I really liked it. I like Lisa (Johnson), liked the team, and I liked being close to home.”
She said she feared missing important family events, like birthdays, so the ability to visit home whenever was a priority.
Hasenoehrl met Idaho head coach Lisa Johnson the summer before ninth grade.
“She’s the hardest worker that I’ve ever seen in this area,” Johnson said. “I knew she wanted to stay close to home, so it was a pretty easy fit for both of us.”
Johnson said Hasenoehrl naturally stepped into a leadership position on the team.
“She helps out in a lot of ways, and she’s very supportive of the younger players on the team, especially the freshmen,” Johnson said.
Hasenoehrl said her mental game has improved the most while at Idaho.
“I play a lot more relaxed and just go out and have fun every time I play,” Hasenoehrl said.
Johnson said she believes Hasenoehrl is capable of winning a spring tournament.
“I want to see her continue to believe in herself and focus on playing relaxed golf and the process instead of getting to caught up in the outcome,” Johnson said. “She knows she only has six months left, so she might as well go out and have some fun and enjoy it.”
Johnson said Hasenoehrl has a consistent demeanor on the course.
“As long as Amy is in a good place before the round mentally, you know you can count on her to shoot a low score,” Johnson said.
In addition to her mental strength, Johnson said Hasenoehrl’s personality makes her the perfect sportsman.
“She’s very fun to play with—all of her teammates and competitors enjoy playing with her because she’s just very nice,” Johnson said. “She believes that you should treat everyone with respect and that’s extremely important to her when she’s playing golf. So she’s very well liked.”
Hasenoehrl said she doesn’t know what direction she’ll take her public relations degree, but she knows staying close to home is at the top of her priorities.
Mihaela Karst can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @mihaela_jo