ANNIKA Award Watch List: Feb. 22, 2018

ANNIKA Award Watch List: Feb. 22, 2018


ANNIKA Award Watch List: Feb. 22, 2018

The spring portion of the 2017-18 Division I women’s college golf season is underway. With the spring started, who will we mark as the contenders for the ANNIKA Award? Plenty are already off to a fast beginning to the spring.

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.

Here are the first spring ANNIKA rankings for 2017-18:

• • •

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

1. Andrea Lee (Previous ranking: 1)

Year: Sophomore

School: Stanford

Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: 1

Results: WIN, Nanea Pac-12 Preview; WIN, Stanford Intercollegiate hosted by Condoleezza Rice; WIN, Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational; T-2, East Lake Cup; T-3, ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M; 4, Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge

The buzz: Lee’s solo-fourth finish to start the spring was actually her worst showing of the season. That’s how high she has set the standard. She still boasts three wins and zero showings outside the top five this campaign, though. That combination ensures Lee’s the favorite, and it won’t be easy for competitors to dethrone her.

Alabama’s Lauren Stephenson

2. Lauren Stephenson (Previous ranking: 2)

Year: Junior

School: Alabama

Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: 3

Results: WIN, Mason Rudolph Championship; 2, Schooner Fall Classic; T-3, Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational; T-3, The Landfall Tradition; T-8, Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge

The buzz: Like Lee, Stephenson began her spring with her worst finish of the season. But again, like Lee, the standard is high – it was still a T-8. Stephenson’s record is still a win and no poor showings, which means she’s only behind Lee. But the competition trying to catch her is getting even fiercer.

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)

3. Maria Fassi (Previous ranking: 4)

Year: Junior

School: Arkansas

Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: 4

Results: WIN, ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M; WIN, Lady Puerto Rico Classic; WIN, Mason Rudolph Championship; T-6, Maryb S. Kauth Invitational; T-11, Ruth’s Chris Tar Heel Invitational

The buzz: Fassi earned her third win of the season with a spring-opening triumph at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic. She’s also had no poor showings this year. Fassi is third in the rankings as a function of the competition she’s done it against, as she’s played the 81st-toughest schedule this season compared to No. 48 (Stephenson) and No. 10 (Lee). But that third win did push her closer to Stephenson. That second spot could change in the coming weeks depending on how the action shapes out.

UCLA's Lilia Vu is one round away from her first college win.

UCLA’s Lilia Vu

4. Lilia Vu (Previous ranking: 5)

Year: Junior

School: UCLA

Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: 2

Results: WIN, Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge; WIN, Battle at the Beach; 2, Nanea Pac-12 Preview; T-6, Stanford Intercollegiate hosted by Condoleezza Rice

The buzz: A co-medalist showing to start the spring means that Vu has two wins and a runner-up in four starts this season. She has no weak finishes, either, and her schedule has been good. She’s at No. 4 mainly because her sample size remains a bit small compared to the rest on the list. But that issue will continue to dissipate as the spring goes along.

Arizona State NCAA Olivia Mehaffey

Olivia Mehaffey of Arizona State

5. Olivia Mehaffey (Previous ranking: N/A)

Year: Sophomore

School: Arizona State

Golfweek/Sagarin Ranking: 9

Results: WIN, Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge; T-2, East Lake Cup; 6, Windy City Collegiate Classic; T-6, Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational; T-11, Pac-12 Preview; T-30, Mason Rudolph Championship

The buzz: Mehaffey earned the first win of her college career by co-medaling at the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge. She hasn’t finished worse than T-11 since the 2017-18 opener and has played a tough schedule. But that T-30 in the opener is holding her back from being higher on this competitive a list. But she’s on the list overall, and the way she’s playing, it’s more likely she’ll climb than recede.

• • •

Next 5

  • Sierra Brooks, So., Florida*

  • Sophia Schubert, Sr., Texas
  • Patty Tavatanakit, Fr., UCLA

  • Kristen Gillman, So., Alabama
  • Leona Maguire, Sr., Duke

*joined team in the spring


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