Stanford star Rachel Heck wins Annika Award as Player-of-Year
25 May 2021
by Jordan Perez of AmateurGolf.com
see also: Rachel Heck Rankings
Rachel Heck proudly hoists the ANNIKA Award trophy (Image Credit: Stanford Athletics)
Stanford’s Rachel Heck was awarded the 2021 ANNIKA Award on Tuesday to conclude a jaw-dropping freshman year.
The NCAA individual champion ended her decorated season with hardware she’d dreamt of hoisting before its start.
“Every year, I would see the watch list come out and see all of the girls I always looked up to and thought that maybe one day I would crack the watch list,” Heck gushed in receiving the trophy. “To actually receive the award is unbelievable.”
The tight contest came down to three finalists: Heck, Arizona State’s Linn Grant and South Carolina’s Pauline Roussin-Bouchard.
There isn’t much Heck hasn’t won in her freshman year - a shortened campaign, but one that spoke the loudest in college golf. She turned a late February start to her freshman spring into six wins and an individual postseason sweep, becoming Stanford’s first-ever individual winner at nationals. Closing her final round of the season with her first over-par round in two months, she’d never finish worse than 11th during the collegiate season and even found herself in contention at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur with a T3 finish.
The history didn’t just stop at Stanford. Heck broke the NCAA scoring record - her 69.72 bested the previous record of 69.76, set by Alabama’s Lauren Stephenson in 2018.
A magnificent qualifier performance for medalist honors awarded her a spot in the U.S. Women’s Open; an experience that may provide some deja vu in the best way after winning the Olympic Club Collegiate that included a lightning round of 66.
She joins the likes of past winners Natalie Srinivasan (2020), Maria Fassi (2018, 2019), Leona Maguire (2015, 2017), Bronte Law (2016) and Alison Lee (2014).
Heck’s remarkable season might have been cut short in a team quarterfinals exit at nationals, but she’ll be right back in the spotlight as an amateur contestant in the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open at The Olympic Club from June 3-6.