Heck triumphs, women’s golf finishes runner-up at Pac-12 Championships

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Stanford women’s golf hosted the Pac-12 Championships this weekend at the par-71 Stanford Golf Course. The Cardinal battled a very tough field and defeated all teams but one: No. 10 USC. Freshman Rachel Heck won the individual title at seven-under-par, adding another achievement to her already historic season.

The Pac-12 Conference has been particularly strong this year. Seven of 10 teams in the weekend’s tournament were ranked in the top 30 in the country, including No. 7 Arizona State, No. 10 USC and No. 12 Oregon. Competing on its home soil, Stanford was not fazed by the strong field.

On Friday, the Cardinal opened the tournament with a five-over-par 289 team total to take second place. Unsurprisingly, Heck led the way in round one. She made three straight birdies on the back nine and just one bogey en route to a three-under-par 68. Sophomore Angelina Ye shot a smooth 71, while sophomore Brooke Seay and junior Aline Krauter chipped in rounds of 74 and 76, respectively. At the end of the first round, the Cardinal trailed the Trojans by six strokes.

The second round was a similar story for Stanford. The Cardinal shot a two-over-par 286 to gain one stroke on USC. 

Heck recorded her fifth consecutive sub-70 round with a two-under-par 69, while Krauter fired a one-under-par 70. Seay posted 73 and Ye shot 74 to round out a solid second round for the Cardinal. However, Stanford fell one stroke behind Arizona State, who was led by sophomore Linn Grant.

In the final round, the Cardinal made a valiant push for the conference championship, but came up just short of the Trojans. Stanford’s final round 279 was tied for the best of the tournament.

Ye shot the low round of the day on Sunday. The reigning All-American made six birdies and just two bogeys in her four-under-par 67. Freshman Sadie Englemann, who struggled in the first two rounds of the tournament, rebounded tremendously with a two-under-par 69. Seay also contributed on Sunday, posting her second 74 of the tournament.

Heck entered the final round one shot behind UCLA’s Emma Spitz. She immediately erased the deficit with a birdie at the first hole, and she never looked back. Heck added birdies at the third and eighth holes and shot a bogey-free 32 on the front nine.

Heck played the entirety of the back nine with the lead. She made her first bogey of the day at the 13th hole before rebounding with a birdie at the 15th. USC senior Amelia Garvey made a back-nine charge, but ultimately could not catch Heck.

When Heck tapped in her par putt on the 18th hole, she made history. She became just the second conference champion for Stanford (Mhairi McKay won in 1997). She also moved into a tie for fifth in program history for most individual titles. Incredibly, Heck has now won more tournaments (three) than she has lost (two) in her young collegiate career. As was to be expected, Heck was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference Team after the conclusion of the round.

Ye, who has not finished outside the top 11 all season, also collected all-conference honors.

The Cardinal does not yet know their postseason schedule. However, given the team’s recent success, the Cardinal will likely be selected to compete in the NCAA Regionals, which will begin on May 10 at the Stanford Golf Course.

Before a potential run at regionals, the Cardinal will head to San Francisco to compete in the US Women’s Open College Play Day at the Olympic Club on May 5.

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Gavin McDonell is a staff writer in the sports section. He is a freshman from San Francisco, California who is considering a major in Management Science and Engineering or Mathematics. His rooting interests include the San Francisco Giants, the Golden State Warriors, Max Homa and of course, the Stanford Cardinal. Contact him at gmcdonell 'at' stanforddaily.com.