Coach Of The Year
Margot and Mitch Milias Director of Women's Golf Anne Walker was named West Region Coach of the Year by the Women's Golf Coaches Association on Thursday. Walker guided a young Cardinal team to one of the most successful seasons in program history, winning six times in nine events.
The Cardinal, who didn't return to campus until mid-February, didn't waste any time picking up victories in its first two events at the Stanford Dual and The Gunrock Invitational. Stanford then finished second at The Juli Inkster Invitational and fifth at the Ping/ASU Invitational before another win at the Fresno State Classic. The Cardinal finished second at the Pac-12 Championships, Stanford's best finish at the conference championships since winning in 2014, and just the program's second, top-two finish since 2001.
After a win at the U.S. Open Collegiate Invitational at The Olympic Club, site of this week's U.S. Women's Open, Stanford turned in a dominant, 30-stroke victory at the NCAA Stanford Regional. The Cardinal set new 18- (13-under), 36- (25-under) and 54-hole (28-under) school records at the event, finishing as the only program at any of the four NCAA Regionals under par. At the NCAA Championships, the Cardinal won stroke play by 13 strokes, finishing first with a 10-under 1,142.
On the individual side, Walker guided a roster which had four of five golfers in the lineup competing in their first postseason. Freshman Rachel Heck enjoyed the best individual season in program history, winning six times and setting a new NCAA record with a 69.72 scoring average. Heck became the third woman in NCAA history to sweep the postseason, winning the conference, regionals and nationals. She became the first Cardinal to win an NCAA Individual national title and the second Stanford golfer to win a conference title (Mhairi McKay, 1997).
Heck wasn't the only Cardinal golfer to enjoy nearly unprecedented success, though, under Walker in 2021. Sophomore Angelina Ye turned in a scoring average of 71.36, the third-best single season scoring average in school history. In nine events, Ye had four Top-5 finishes, seven Top-10 finishes and all nine finishes in the Top 11. Ye finished second at the NCAA Stanford Regional and third at the NCAA Championships, joining Heck as just the fourth and fifth women in program history to finish inside the Top 3 at the national event.
In addition to Stanford's top two golfers, Sadie Englemann's 72.92 scoring average was the fourth-best by a freshman in school history, Brooke Seay's 73.08 scoring average was the sixth-best by a sophomore in school history, and Aline Krauter's 73.40 scoring average was the fourth-best by a junior in school history.
Both Heck and Ye earned WGCA First Team All-American honors, making Walker's Cardinal the only program in the country with multiple first teamers in 2021. Stanford has had at least one first-team All-American in all nine seasons under Walker, while multiple Cardinal have been named All-Americans in eight straight seasons.
The Cardinal has qualified for NCAA Championships in all eight possible seasons under Walker, including four appearances in the national semifinals. Stanford is the only program in the country to have made NCAA Match Play quarterfinals in all six seasons of the current format.
Under Walker, the program has captured 27 full-field victories and produced 22 All-Americans.
Earlier this week, Walker was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2021 for the second time in her career (also 2015).