Even the oft-poised Katelynn Mannix couldn't stay totally composed during her walk to the 18th green last Sunday.
At that point, winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Individual Championship wasn't top priority for the Division I women's golf standout from Siena College — she was already up by 11 strokes.
Mannix's new challenge was controlling her emotions — an otherwise effortless skill of the 22-year-old — as she strolled the final fairway with her four-year college coach, reminiscing about how far she had come since she stepped on campus for the first time.
But with her father, mother, grandfather, stepfather and boyfriend on the scene watching her make her last collegiate approach shot, the emotions finally won.
"I couldn't really hold it in," Mannix said. "I was crying like a baby coming up the 18th hole."
Never mind that Mannix had already won two individual championships in three years. She was about to win her third, and in decisive fashion. It was also Siena's 11th-straight team MAAC title.
Mannix held herself together well enough to complete a round she referred to as "the best I've ever played," a 73 at the Magnolia Golf Course in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
But according to her, it wasn't flawless. She said she missed at least five putts inside three feet.
As if it really mattered.
"Last weekend was really just a great way for her to go out," Siena coach Dave Wronowski said. "Doing that (in your last tournament) is not always the easiest thing. It's a testament to her mental toughness.
"It was a tournament she wanted very badly, and she set the tournament record."
Though Mannix was up seven strokes entering Sunday, she didn't take playing partners Kristen MacDonald (Fairfield University) and Sarah Sideranko (University of Hartford) for granted.
"I knew anything could happen," Mannix said. "The two girls I was playing with could've gone low."
Every time MacDonald and Sideranko were poised to make a move, however, Mannix buried another dagger.
On her fifth hole during the final round, the former Beekmantown Eagle was faced with a tricky 40-footer for birdie, and MacDonald and Sideranko had shorter, uphill putts, looking to cut into their deficit.
Mannix made hers, and the best either of her two playing partners could muster was a three-putt.
Mannix said she just tried to play it cool. After all, a steady attitude is what got her to that point.
"She's always been extremely mentally tough and consistent," Wronowski said. "Not a lot of high and lows on the golf course."
Wronowski first watched Mannix play during a junior tournament in the summer between her junior and senior years of high school.
Mannix said that day was a topic of discussion during her memorable walk on the final fairway last Sunday.
"He was talking about it — watching me at that tournament," Mannix said. "I didn't play well that day ... I didn't have head covers, and just this small bag. I didn't look like a golfer.
My ball-striking was OK, but my short game was bad. He said he knew he could work on that. I think the big factor was my demeanor. I kept a pretty good attitude, and that's important in D-I golf."
Mannix and Wronowski both agreed that her short game was the most-improved part of her game through her college career.
She credited Wronowski and swing coach John Hall, PGA Professional at Westport Country Club, for her development during that time.
The 2007 graduate of Beekmantown won the MAAC individual championship in both her freshman and sophomore years at Siena.
With a third title notched to her golf bag, Mannix's focus is where it's mostly been to begin with — on school.
She'll be attending Yale in the fall, studying in its biological and biomedical sciences program.
"She's been a model student-athlete for four years, and I'm incredibly proud of her," Wronowski said. "She's going to be great in whatever she does."
Email Nick St. Denis at: email@example.com