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College Golf

Superstar college golfer Rachel Heck sidelined with injury, NCAAs in doubt

February 28, 2023
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Justin Tafoya

As the No. 1-ranked Stanford women’s golf team tries to chase down a second-straight NCAA title this spring, it might be doing so without the help of one of its top players.

Rachel Heck, a junior who won the NCAA individual title and college player of the year honors in 2021, is out indefinitely with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. It’s a condition that affects the shoulder between the collarbone and first rib. The injury was first reported by Golf Channel.

An eight-time winner with the Cardinal, Heck was missing from the team’s lineup in its first start of the spring last month at the Therese Hession Regional Challenge. Kevin Hopkins, who represents Heck with her name, image and likeness deals, said there is no timetable yet on when she might return to the course.

“Rachel is working with some of the top doctors at Stanford to determine the next steps with regards to therapy and treatment, and hopes to have an update in the coming weeks,” Hopkins said via email.

The coming weeks notably include the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, which starts March 29. Heck is no longer listed in the field. She finished T-27 in 2022 and T-3 in 2021. Meanwhile, Stanford's spring season continues withs two events in March ahead of the Pac-12 Women’s Championship in mid-April.

Heck played in all four of Stanford’s events in the fall. Her best finish was a T-3 in the Stephens Cup at Seminole Golf Club. Heck's last start was at the Stanford Intercollegiate in October.

The 21-year-old native of Memphis, Tenn., has been a significant part of the Cardinal's recent dominance. Heck set a school record of six victories as a freshman in 2000-01. Her eight career wins are tied for second in school history with teammate and No. 1 amateur in the world Rose Zhang. The duo sits one off the Stanford record of nine victories set by Andrea Lee.

This isn’t the only injury Stanford is dealing with. Senior Brooke Seay has been out of action recently due to a concussion. "Fair to say we aren't the same team we were in the fall," Stanford women’s coach Anne Walker told Golf Channel, "but still have a lot of fight."

Heck’s last college victory came a year ago at the Gunrock Invitational, where her team set the all-time 54-hole NCAA scoring record of 50 under par.