ANNIKA Award Watch List: Oct. 12, 2017

Bruce Kluckhohn/USA Today Sports

ANNIKA Award Watch List: Oct. 12, 2017

Women

ANNIKA Award Watch List: Oct. 12, 2017

The 2017-18 Division I women’s college golf season is in full tilt, and there’s already plenty of early shake-up in the race for the ANNIKA Award.

The ANNIKA Award Presented by 3M honors the player of the year in women’s college golf, as selected by college golfers, coaches and members of the golf media.

After opening his initial rankings two weeks ago, Kevin Casey has an updated early list of ANNIKA contenders. A reminder: We’re changing up from last year’s opening lists in that we are really focusing on the early results rather than letting last season play a huge role, too, initially. With that caveat, that means some early-season shuffling is inevitable. Leona Maguire is a prime example. The reigning ANNIKA winner goes from No. 1 last week to out of the top 5 entirely … after a top-10 finish (a T-9 at the Windy City Collegiate Classic), no less! That’s the cutthroat nature of the early fall version of this list. To reassure, much of the season remains: The likes of Maguire can bounce back and still have plenty of time to race up to No. 1.

Without further ado, the second ANNIKA rankings for 2017-18:

• • •

Note: Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings are updated through Oct. 12

Oct 3, 2017; Eden Prairie, MN, USA; Maria Fassi of Arkansas celebrates her victory with coach Shauna Taylor after the final round of the 2017 ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M. (Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY Sports)

1. Maria Fassi

Year: Junior

School: Arkansas

Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: 1

Results: WIN, ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M; WIN, Mason Rudolph Championship

The buzz: Fassi was going to need to build a strong season after an opening win better than she had in her first two years to be an ANNIKA contender. How’d she do her third time around? In one event, she’s tacked on another victory.

Yes, Fassi captured the ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M for the second straight year. This time it was a five-shot triumph courtesy of a closing 6-under 66. Back-to-back wins (the Mason Rudolph triumph being co-medalist) against impressive fields to start the season simply can’t be beat. Plenty of season left, but Fassi is already off to a far better follow-up to an opening win than the previous two campaigns.


STANFORD, CA – October 15, 2016: Andrea Lee smiles during Round 2 of the 21st Stanford Intercollegiate at Stanford Golf Course. (Courtesy of Stanford University Athletics)

2. Andrea Lee

Year: Sophomore

School: Stanford

Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: 5

Results: WIN, Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational; T-3, ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M

The buzz: The 2016-17 Freshman of the Year has lost to two players total in two starts. She’s picking up right where she left off from a season in which she was an ANNIKA contender to the end.


Alabama’s Lauren Stephenson made a spirited run at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur. (USGA)

3. Lauren Stephenson

Year: Junior

School: Alabama

Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: 2

Results: WIN, Mason Rudolph Championship; 2, Schooner Fall Classic

The buzz: Stephenson hasn’t played since the opening rankings, but that shouldn’t alter her place here and it doesn’t. Her win-second start speaks for itself. She has lost to one player (her own teammate, Kristen Gillman) in these two starts. Stephenson resumes action Friday at the Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational.


Sophia Schubert and her caddie talk on the third hole during the final round of match play at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur at San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista, Calif. on Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. (USGA/Steven Gibbons)

4. Sophia Schubert

Year: Senior

School: Texas

Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: 3

Results: WIN, Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational; T-7, ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M

The buzz: The reigning U.S. Women’s Amateur champion missed Texas’ first two events, but with good reason. Schubert earned a spot into the Evian Championship via her Am win and took advantage: she opened in 68 on her way to an impressive T-58 finish. She returned to college golf this month and didn’t skip a beat, using a second-round 67 to post an impressive T-7 at the ANNIKA. She followed with a four-shot win at Texas’ Betsy Rawls home event. A late start but certainly a strong one for the senior.


Arkansas senior Alana Uriell in action (@RazorbackWGolf)

5. Alana Uriell

Year: Senior

School: Arkansas

Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: 6

Results: 3, Mason Rudolph Championship; T-3, ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M

The buzz: Arkansas’ leader in scoring average last season may have a tough time repeating that feat this season if Fassi keeps on her tear. But in that scenario, Uriell may still do enough to be on the ANNIKA list without being her team’s best player. She is indeed on this list at the moment thanks to back-to-back top 3s against strong fields.

• • •

Next 5

  • Patty Tavatanakit, Fr., UCLA
  • Kristen Gillman, So., Alabama
  • Linnea Strom, Jr., Arizona State
  • Leona Maguire, Sr., Duke
  • Maddie McCrary, Sr., Oklahoma State

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