Every great athlete has it. The ability to respond with brilliance when the pressure is at its peak and the title is on the line.
Nashville High School junior Shawn Rennegarbe showed that ability throughout the 2012 golf season.
Trailing by three shots with one hole to play at the Teutopolis Sectional, Rennegarbe drove the par-4, 220-yard 18th hole at Effingham Country Club and calmly drained her 18-foot eagle putt to force a playoff when her opponent made a bogey.
Minutes later in the sudden-death playoff, Rennegarbe drove the 18th green again and made a two-putt birdie to win the tournament.
Her celebration? A simple fist pump.
Six days later, at the Class A State Tournament at Red Tail Run Golf Course near Decatur, she had a disappointing opening round 77. Rennegarbe again raised her level with 4-under-par 68 in a round that included eight birdies and helped her earn the second-place medal.
"For some reason I never have played well the first round at the state tournament. This year included,'' Rennegarbe said. "The first day, I had birdie chances but the putts just didn't drop. The second round on Saturday, the putts fell and I shot 68.That's golf.
"I was pleased how I played the second day.''
The dominant player in the metro-east for the third straight year, Rennegarbe had to be pleased with how she played most of the season. She won eight tournament championships, including the Centralia Regional and Teutopolis Sectional, and finished the season with a 9-hole average of 36 and an 18-hole mark under par at 71.3
For her accomplishments, Rennegarbe has been honored by area coaches as the Belleville News-Democrat co-player of the Year. Rennegarbe shares the honor with Belleville East senior Miranda Lidisky.
The runner-up finish at state is the highest since 2003 when Ashley Freeman of Belleville East won the state championship. Mary Ellen Jacobs of Marquette won the title in 2002. Both Freeman and Jacobs' championships came in the IHSA one-class system.
The medal for Rennegarbe is her third in as many years. After tying for ninth as a freshman, Rennegarbe placed fourth last year.
"I wanted to win the state title and I played well," Rennegarbe said. "If I do the best I can and come up short, that's all I can do. It was another good season, and I'm pleased at how I played.'
Also pleased with Rennegarbe's play was Hornettes coach Doug Kell who has watched his No. 1 player become one of the top high school golfers in the nation.
Her strengths? Drive and determination.
"Shawn has always been a driven athlete, in whatever sport she plays," Kell said. "She loves to win, but playing her best is all that matters. She doesn't mind losing as long as she did her best,'' Kell said. "Most of the time, she couldn't tell you where she stands (her score) on the course. She concentrates on each shot and focuses on the task at hand.''
Rennegarbe benefited from playing a schedule of national tournaments throughout the summer. Competing against the top junior players in the nation and on longer and more challenging courses, Rennegarbe fared well.
Included among her accomplishments was a trip to the U.S. Girls Amateur Championship, where she advanced to the final 16 in the match play competition.
Rennegarbe said the most improved aspect of her game was her maturity.
"Physically, I'm stronger then I have been, but I would say the biggest improvement is my overall maturity,'' Rennegarbe said. "Things like being able to handle different situations as they come up during the round.
"Also I think I'm better at managing my game in knowing what club to use, and what clubs I can use when I'm a certain distance away from the pin. I think overall, my course management is much better.''
At her best late in the season after winning the regional and sectional titles, Rennegarbe found herself trailing eventual champion Sabrina Bonanno of Norridge-Ridgewood by four strokes after the first round.
But after making the 9-hole turn at 4-under-par 32 in the second round, Rennegarbe was back in contention.
At least, she thought so.
"At state, the pairings are made so that the best teams play against each other and because she (Bonanno) was playing as an individual, I had no idea how close I was to the lead,'' Rennegarbe said. "The girls I was playing with were nice, but again, I had no idea where I stood.
"I was 4-under at the turn, but the back nine at Red Tail Run is more difficult than the front nine. But to shoot 68, I was pleased with that.''
Rennegarbe is now following her other passion -- basketball. A three-year letter winner, Rennegarbe is one of the top players for the Hornettes who were ranked fifth in the Class 2A state poll.
Rennegarbe, daughter of Greg and Stephanie Rennegarbe, has started the college recruiting process and has already taken several unofficial visits. Although nowhere near making a decision, Rennegarbe is looking at schools in the Big 10, Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference.