The last time the University of Kentucky qualified a female golfer for the NCAA Championships, Isabelle Johansson was 3 years old.
That was 1998.
Now, it's Johansson's turn.
The first-semester freshman from Sweden, who goes by "Bella," played her best tournament of the season in the South Bend (Ind.) Regional.
She helped the Wildcats to a seventh-place finish, one spot shy of qualifying the team for the NCAA Championships. Then she won a three-way playoff that included teammate Haley Mills to qualify as an individual.
"I don't think I quite understand how big it is yet, but I'm really excited," said Johansson, who until the regional hadn't finished higher than 47th in a tourney this season. "I'm having a hard time saying that I'm proud of myself, but I guess I would say this, for sure."
The NCAA Championships run Friday through Wednesday at Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
At South Bend, Johansson opened with a 2-under 70, her best round of the season. She remained on the leaderboard the rest of the week and recorded a tourney-best 43 pars in 54 holes.
"First of all, I would say the course really suits me," she said. "But, second of all, I've been working so hard this semester. I haven't played the best golf, but I have ended the season good. And I felt like I've been practicing so hard, my swing was good. I was hitting the ball as I wanted to, and it was controlled."
Johansson was recruited to UK by coach and fellow Swede Golda Johansson Borst (no relation).
"I found her two summers ago," Borst said. "I went to Sweden and I thought, 'There's got to be somebody under the radar that nobody knows about that's just waiting to be found.' I walked out and liked the way that she struck the ball, and watched her again just to make sure that it wasn't a one-time thing, and just started recruiting her. Fortunately, she fell in love with Kentucky also."
Johansson, whose accent sounds more American than Swedish, says she's been speaking English since third or fourth grade.
What she does best on the course is hit the ball.
"She's a great ball-striker," Borst said. "Unbelievably good ball-striker. And I will say that another thing she does really well is fight. She fights with every part of her being."
Witness the last round of the region.
Johansson faltered late on the last day, notching bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17. Mills had finished as Johansson approached 18.
"We were standing on the last tee, and I said, 'Do you want to know where you're at?'" Borst recalled. "She kind of just giggled, and I said, 'Well, just so you know, you're tied with Haley right now.' ... She said, 'Good, good. I'm going to get her.'"
Johansson and Mills opened the playoff par-par, eliminating Kent State's Taylor Kim on the second hole.
On the third playoff hole, Johansson and Mills both missed the green. But Johansson got up and down for a par, while Mills bogeyed.
So now, it's on to the NCAA Championships.
Borst says Johansson can contend for a top-five finish.
"I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing, but I haven't really gotten that nervous yet," Johansson said. "I believe that's a part of that I don't really understand how big this is.
"I just know that I'm going to go down there, I'm going to play my best, I'm going to have a lot of fun and just take it all in, and know that I can perform at that high level. So I don't think that I'm going to get that nervous. I think it's going to be more adrenaline that really wants me to do well."