May 8, 2013
PALO ALTO, Calif. (seminoles.com) - Florida State's Olivia Hullert has always had a passion for golf.
She began playing the sport at the age of five and that passion has helped her earn success in Europe on the international level and has now helped her achieve success in her freshman season as a Seminole.
"The golf is the same here as it is back home," said Hullert. "The main difference for me is competing as a team. I've always competed as an individual being a part of the national team back home. Over here it's different. You need keep a positive attitude toward each other, cheer for each other and realize that the success of the team means the success of each individual.
Although it has been a change for Hullert, she has adjusted nicely to collegiate competition.
"I like it," Hullert continued on the team play. "I really like to try and create a good team environment and a team spirit. It's a lot nicer to travel and easier to be happy for each other since we're on the same team. At the same time, I'm also competing as an individual. The biggest difference [between individual and team competition] is the attitude towards others, which is probably a good thing for my personal golf game. [I'm] able to stand up tall and give positive signals."
Competing as an individual and prior to enrolling at Florida State, Hullert excelled overseas.
Hullert was honored with the opportunity to play for the Norwegian Junior National Team in 2011 and ranked as the No. 1 golfer on the Norwegian Titleist Tour in the same year. Hullert was also a major part of Norway's third place finish in the 2012 Nation's Cup in Stotogrande, Spain as she finished in third place in the individual standings in arguably the best performance of her career.
Even though these accomplishments, amongst many others, are fantastic, they came with price. Toward the end of her high school career, Hullert had to choose between golf the pomp and circumstance that surrounded her graduation from high school. She had to choose between playing in the 2012 Italian Open Championship or attending various graduation activities.
She chose the Italian Open.
"It's a really, really big deal back home to celebrate the end of high school," said Hullert. "At the same time, when I look back on [my decision to play in the Italian Open Championship], I don't regret it at all." Through the help of her coaches at home -- Jonas Lilja and Fredrik Enge -- Hullert was able to put her stress and nervousness behind her and finish in second place during the competition.
That wasn't the only decision she faced as her high school career came to a conclusion.
Coming out of high school, Hullert needed to make the decision on which university to attend. It wasn't until after a visit to Tallahassee that she knew she wanted to become a Seminole.
"I traveled with one of my friends, [former Florida State All-American golfer] Caroline Westrup," Hullert said on her decision to attend Florida State. "When we came [to Tallahassee], she took me to a football game. I had never seen the campus before and I was amazed by how pretty it was. At the end of the stay, when I saw the football game, we actually lost and I was miserable. This was two years ago. I didn't even know coach (Amy) Bond back then. I was like, `this is my school.' The football team lost and I'm miserable. I had to go here. I just knew I wanted to go here and it worked out well."
"The campus is so beautiful," Hullert continued. "I don't believe I could have had any better practice areas. All the facilities are great. Everyone is great and I love it."
In her first season at Florida State, Hullert has taken the opportunity to help the team reach the NCAA West Regional Championships as helped the Seminoles earn a fourth place finish at the ACC Championship. As an individual, Hullert has four Top 20 finishes through 10 events with one of them being tied for fifth place at the Florida Challenge.
"My results have been good, but I'm not satisfied" Hullert said on her early success. "I still have a lot of things to work on. It's still been a good start but with hard work I am going to continue to improve."
Although not completely satisfied right now, Hullert and the rest of the Florida State women's team have a chance to walk away happy as they play in the 2013 NCAA West Regional Championships at the Stanford University Golf Course in California beginning Thursday.
For Hullert and her teammates, advancing to the NCAA Championship Finals at the University of Georgia would be a great way to satisfy the passion that began to grow when she first picked up a golf club at the age of five.
By Ryan Syrkus Florida State Sports Information