Stanford’s Heck Wins NCAA Title by 1 Shot

Rachel Heck of Stanford has been almost unbeatable this season.

Heck, a freshman from Memphis, Tenn., claimed her fifth straight victory and sixth of 2021 by becoming the first Cardinal to capture the NCAA Division I Women’s Individual Championship by one stroke over Emma Spitz of UCLA at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

In addition, Heck led Stanford to the No. 1 seed in stroke-play qualifying for the match play portion of the tournament that will determine the national team championship.

Heck, a five-time AJGA Rolex All-American and two-time USA Today High School Golfer of the Year, posted a score of 69-67-70-74—280, 8-under-par, while Spitz, a Bruins sophomore from Austria, finished at 72-70-71-68—281.

“I dreamed about this, but you have to realize there are 140 amazing players here and it’s four days,” said Heck, who held on to become the ninth freshman to claim the title by finishing with six straight pars. “Anything can happen and I just feel beyond blessed, beyond words. My heart is beating so fast.

“Our Fall Season was cancelled and we weren’t even on campus because of Covid-19, so we were just happy to get a chance to play. I remember sitting in my room in January when they said it would be a few more weeks before we would play.

“There’s no way I thought then that I would be standing here holding this trophy. I’m so happy.”

Angelina Ye of Stanford was third at 77-69-65-71—282, followed by Ashley Menne of Arizona State at 76-72-65-72—285, while Hailey Borja of Michigan shot 75-71-72-68—286, to tie for fifth Phoebe Brinker of Duke, who wound up at 73-70-72-71—286, Julia Johnson of Mississippi, who finished at 73-71-71-71—286, and Gina Kim of Duke, who totaled 74-67-72-73—286.

Beatrice Wallin of Florida State carded a score of 73-71-76-68—288 to tie for ninth with Anna Zanusso of Denver, who finished at 76-72-70-70—288, and Beth Lillie of Virginia, who came in at 72-74-72-70—288.

Playing as individuals, Kajsa Arwefjall of San Jose State shot 77-71-72-74—294 to finish in a tie for 36th that included Alyaa Abdulghany of USC, who wound up at 75-75-69-75—294.

Rounding out the scoring for Stanford were Brooke Seay in a tie for 20th at 75-71-69-76—291, Aline Krauter in a tie for 44th at 75-71-73-76—295, and Sadie Englemann in a tie for 49th at 72-73-76-75—296.

Stanford, which is coached by Anne Walker and claimed its only NCAA Women’s Championship in 2015, earned the top seed in match play with a score of 291-278-277-296—1142, 10-under, followed by Duke at 292-281-293-289—1155, Oklahoma State at 297-289-282-289—1157 and Mississippi at 296-291-288-284—1159.

Texas was fifth at 289-288-293-291—1161, followed by Auburn at 305-299-288-278—1170, while Arizona State finished at 300-291-286-296—1173 to tie for seventh Arizona, which wound up at 292-298-292-291—1173.

UCLA was 15th at 302-293-300-294—1189.

In the first round of match play on Tuesday, UCLA will face Arizona, Duke meets Arizona State, Oklahoma State goes against Auburn and Mississippi faces Texas.

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