Since 1971, the top men’s college golfer in the game has received the Haskins Award. Female collegians now are competing for a Haskins equivalent. The inaugural Annika Award will be presented to the top female player at the end of the spring season.
Like the Haskins Award, the Annika Award will be voted on by all Division I female players and women’s golf coaches as well as select members of the golf media. The recipient will then be honored at a banquet preceding the inaugural Annika Invitational, to be played Sept. 28-30 at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Fla. The 12-team field consists of Stanford, USC, UCLA, Pepperdine, Arizona, Arizona State, Duke, Vanderbilt, Oklahoma State and Alabama. The final two spots will go to the winner of the Big 10 Conference Championship and the Annika Award winner’s team, if not already in the field, or the top-ranked team in Golfweek’s year-end rankings not already in the field.
The following players made the first edition of the Annika Watch List, but players not on the list are not excluded from consideration. Players can still play their way into contention in the spring.
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Alison Lee, UCLA freshman
Hometown: Valencia, Calif.
Fall finishes: Second, Mason Rudolph Classic; Won Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational; Won Stanford Intercollegiate; T-8, Pac-12 Preview
Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 1
Golfstat head-to-head ranking: 1
The skinny: Lee transitioned easily from a seemingly decades-long junior golf career. A pair of wins should help Lee’s confidence, and with that up, Lee can continue to win and win.
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Stephanie Meadow, Alabama senior
Hometown: Jordanstown, Northern Ireland
Fall finishes: T-2, Dale McNamara Fall Preview; Fourth, Mason Rudolph Championship; T-11, Tar Heel Invitational; Won Landfall Tradition
Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 2
Golfstat head-to-head ranking: 2
The skinny: Has grown tremendously as a player since arriving in Tuscaloosa. Meadow benefits from accuracy, strong putting and a level head. With eight career victories, Meadow is overdue for a player of the year award.
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Kyung Kim, USC sophomore
Hometown: Chandler, Ariz.
Fall finishes: Won Dale McNamara Fall Preview; T-2, Windy City Collegiate; T-23, Stanford Intercollegiate; T-13, Pac-12 Preview
Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 12
Golfstat head-to-head ranking: 10
The skinny: Kim tends to play well in big fields. The sophomore has come into her game since arriving at USC, and rounds of 69-69-66 at the Fall Preview proved that.
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Ashlan Ramsey, Clemson freshman
Hometown: Milledgeville, Ga.
Fall finishes: Second, Cougar Classic; Won Lady Paladin Invitational; Won Tar Heel Invitational; Eighth, Landfall Tradition
Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 4
Golfstat head-to-head ranking: 3
The skinny: Ramsey was able to carry over momentum from a successful amateur summer (victories included the Women’s Eastern Amateur and Women’s Western Amateur) and log two collegiate victories in the fall. Ramsey’s numbers are worth noting, too. She played nine of 12 rounds under par, and was a combined 15 under for the fall.
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Erynne Lee, UCLA junior
Hometown: Silverdale, Wash.
Fall finishes: Won Mason Rudolph Classic; T-7, Stanford Intercollegiate; T-8 Pac-12 Preview
Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 3
Golfstat head-to-head ranking: 63
The skinny: Lee’s strength is in her consistency and cool head. She has the ability to post a number every time she tees it up, and the Bruins have benefited from her greatly for the past three years. A DQ at the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational hurt her head-to-head record, but that shouldn’t take away from her season.
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Julie Yang, Oklahoma State sophomore
Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
Fall finishes: T-2, Dale McNamara Fall Preview; T-2 Windy City Collegiate; T-13 Landfall Tradition
Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 8
Golfstat head-to-head ranking: 5
The skinny: Yang was a driving force for the Cowgirls early in the fall. She stepped away to play the second stage of LPGA Q-School, which is just another golf experience to add to her vast resume. Yang has played all over the world, and is a mature player with an extremely well-developed short game.
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Mariah Stackhouse, Stanford sophomore
Hometown: Riverdale, Ga.
Fall finishes: T-8, Dale McNamara Fall Preview; T-9, Windy City Collegiate; Won Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational; T-5, Stanford Intercollegiate; Seventh, Pac-12 Preview
Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 5
Golfstat head-to-head ranking: 9
The skinny: The first half of Stackhouse’s sophomore campaign was stronger than her freshman fall. She got her third career win at the Edean Ihlanfeldt Invitational, and was in contention each time she teed it up.
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Annie Park, USC sophomore
Hometown: Levittown, N.Y.
Fall finishes: T-24, Dale McNamara Fall Preview; T-3, Stanford Intercollegiate; Second, Pac-12 Preview
Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 10
Golfstat head-to-head ranking: 56
The skinny: Golfweek’s preseason No. 1 player struggled early in the fall, and a DQ (signing an incorrect scorecard) at the Windy City hurt her head-to-head ranking. Park redeemed herself with third- and second-place finishes to end the season, however. The talent is there (the Stanford Intercollegiate ended with a 64), as Park demonstrated last spring.
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Liz Nagel, Michigan State senior
Hometown: DeWitt, Mich.
Fall finishes: Won Mary Fossum Invitational; T-5 Mason Rudolph Championship; T-14, Tar Heel Invitational; T-4 Landfall Tradition
Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 19
Golfstat head-to-head ranking: 7
The skinny: Nagel came up big for the Spartans in the first half of her senior season. Nagel’s toughness and emotional strength is inspirational. She battled thyroid cancer last year, and won this year’s Mary Fossum days after her grandfather died.
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Caroline Nistrup, LSU freshman
Hometown: Dragoer, Denmark
Fall finishes: T-13, Cougar Classic; Fourth, Schooner Fall Classic; T-3, Tar Heel Invitational; T-7, The Alamo Invitational
Golfweek/Sagarin College Ranking: 23
Golfstat head-to-head ranking: 8
The skinny: Nistrup was one of the surprises of the fall season. Her top-5 finishes at the Schooner Fall Classic and Tar Heel Invitational helped LSU to a strong season. Nistrup averaged 70 in the fall, and never shot a round higher than 73.