I didn’t think she would win it about two months ago. Then, she hit the home stretch and was the best in the country. She won the SEC individual and the NCAA individual.
I know some say that she should have won on her home course. It’s true that home course advantage is important in golf. But I can recall listening to Bob Tway, David Edwards, Gil Morgan and Doug Tewell explain to me that none of them were going to win the PGA at Oak Tree. They said winning at home is difficult.
I said, what? They said you have to entertain family and Tree gang contended despite owning homes on the course.
I think the younger the player, the more home course matters in golf. For instance, it’s not a huge advantage on the profesional tours because the caddies and the players can figure out a course in 2-3 days.
But for college, they had one day to go around Blessings. I don’t think that’s enough. It’s one of the reasons I thought the scores dropped considerably for the second round in both the women’s and men’s tournament. But, Maria shot only a 73 the first day. When she blew them away was in the final round when she shot 68. Her top rivals should have figured it out by day three and stuck with her.
As far as the Annika, it’s such a young award that only three others have won it. Duke’s Leona McGuire won it in 2015 and 2017. The award was started in 2014 when Allison Lee of UCLA won it.