On Tuesday, Rachel Heck woke up from a nap to a text from five-time LPGA Tour winner and major champion Michelle Wie West. “Yay! See you Thursday.” Confused, Heck immediately checked the groupings for round one of the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship. There she was, listed beside Wie West and Northern California native Mina Harigae. Heck was ecstatic.
“If you told me a few years ago that I would be playing with Michelle Wie West at an LPGA event and I'd figure out that I'm paired with her from a text from her, I would not have believed you. It's crazy. I'm so excited,” said Heck, who originally met Wie West through their college connection, Stanford University.
Heck is a sponsor invite for the event, her first start in an LPGA Tour event that is not a major championship. She comes off a T35 finish at the U.S. Women’s Open, her fourth appearance in a major since 2017. This week caps off an incredible run of golf for Heck, who won her last six college tournaments, which included victories at the NCAA Championships and a 36-hole qualifier to get into last week’s USWO. She’s met her idols – getting a picture with Lydia Ko after playing together in the final round at The Olympic Club, and “fangirling” over her interactions with Danielle Kang and Jessica Korda. Off the course, she’s a week removed from her freshman year of college, finishing her final paper while making the cut at the U.S. Women's Open.
Heck now turns her attention to Lake Merced Golf Club, where she’s never played before. Though a bit tired from what feels like an endless amount of golf (her dad counted 13 tournaments since February), she’s ready to close out a successful couple of weeks with another world-class experience at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship.
“I try not to put expectations or pressure on myself. It's definitely cool to make the cut last week and be fun to do that again, but I think it would be crazy to go into this week with expectations that if I miss the cut then it's a disappointing week,” said Heck. “I'm still a sponsor exemption and I'm going to enjoy it, really soak it all in and enjoy playing with the pros and just learning as much as I can, most importantly.”