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Memphis native Rachel Heck wins college golf's top award


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Stanford freshman Rachel Heck was announced as the winner of the prestigious ANNIKA Award on Tuesday at Grayhawk Golf Club. Heck, the 2021 individual NCAA champion, won six times this season and set a new NCAA single-season scoring average record (69.72).

 

"It is unreal," Heck said. "I remember in high school the ANNIKA Award Instagram page followed me and I was freaking out. I thought it was the coolest thing in the whole world. 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. To actually receive the award is unbelievable, I am speechless right now.

 

"My biggest role model in golf is Annika," continued Heck. "She is incredible. What she did with her career in golf alone speaks for itself, but what she has done after that is unbelievable. She has given so much back to the game, she has spent the rest of her life just giving back to the game, growing golf and growing girls golf, so to receive the award from her is so special."

 

In nine total events, Heck won six times, finishing tied for second, tied for sixth and tied for 11th in the other three. She became the third woman in NCAA history to earn a postseason sweep, winning conference, regionals and nationals. The six victories is the most in school history, tied for third-most for a career in school history, and tied for the fifth-most in a single season in NCAA history.

 

About The ANNIKA Trophy

 

The ANNIKA Award presented by Stifel, is presented annually to the top female U.S. collegiate golfer; the winner voted on by players, coaches and members of the golf media.

 

Named for and presented by Annika Sorenstam, the ANNIKA Award is comprised of two primary components: a silver pedestal, which will display a commemorative plaque listing each yearly winner; and a hand-crafted, glass presentation trophy presented to the winner, with a copy given to the player's College or University.


The blue presentation piece seeks to represent an ideal golf swing. Every glass piece is hand-crafted by female artist, Sally Denham. As every golf swing is different, so too are the individual glass sculptures. While similar in size and pattern, each exhibits subtle differences that make every trophy, like every golfer, unique.

 

The color pattern, from light on the back swing, darker through the bottom arc of the power stroke, then brightening at the follow through, demonstrating how every well-executed golf swing, all the hours on the practice range, all the sacrifice, culminates at the moment of impact.

 

Only three complete versions of the trophy have been produced. One will be on permanent display with the ANNIKA Foundation in Orlando. A second will be on permanent display at the Country Club of Columbus, next to the Haskins Award, an award given annual to the top collegiate male golfer. A third version will be used for travel and display.

 

A unique aspect of the ANNIKA presentation is the addition of a special concealed container in the base of the pedestal. Annual winners will be invited to share their reflections on winning the trophy on cards that will be held in the base of the trophy. On the 25th anniversary of the award, the base and the cards within will be opened and shared with the public at a special celebration.