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You can see it in her smile. Stanford sophomore Rachel Heck felt “so laid back” during Round 1 of the Marathon LPGA Classic, where she carded a 2-under 69. This is her third LPGA event of the summer after competing in the U.S. Women’s Open and the LPGA Mediheal Championship, both near San Francisco.
“I felt confident with my game, allowing my dad and I to just purely enjoy the walk. I’m lucky enough to have had enough professional starts that I am beginning to feel more comfortable on this larger stage,” said Heck, who is using her father as her caddie this week.
Heck knows what it feels like to compete on the highest level of amateur golf. Despite not having a fall season because of COVID-19, Heck won four tournaments in a row and six tournaments overall in the spring of her freshman year, including the NCAA women’s individual title. This summer, she’s getting a taste of how the best players in the world practice and compete. “I don’t think most people appreciate the mental and physical grind that the players go through to play week after week. They exhibit such strength and dedication and I’ve learned so much from that,” said Heck.
At the U.S. Women’s Open, Heck made the cut and finished T-35. She missed the cut at the Mediheal, but continues to work hard at her game and enjoy the process. “The best part of my game is probably my short game. Even when I miss a green, I feel confident that I will give myself a good look at par,” she said.
By the end of her long stretch of tournaments in the spring, Heck had lost some confidence in her putting, but her practice paid off for the Marathon. “I was missing so many short putts and I’ve been focusing on this aspect of my game the last few weeks,” she said. “It felt great to roll the ball confident again today.”
Heck had a consistent scorecard with three birdies and only one bogey – and she needed only 26 putts. She tees off on Friday at 2:05 p.m. ET.