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Visitation's Heck hopes to repeat as 2A girls' golf champ

By Ron Haggstrom, Star Tribune, 06/10/17, 4:24PM CDT


Anni Heck is a humble model of consistency.

Visitation senior Anni Heck teed off during the Class 2A, Section 4 golf tournament at Highland National Golf Course in St. Paul. CARLOS GONZALEZ - cgonzalez@startribune.com - June 1, 2017, St. Paul MN

Visitation senior Anni Heck is humble, never boasting about her accomplishments on the golf course or in the classroom. She will, however, quickly celebrate a classmate’s accomplishments.

That’s what makes the quiet one special as she prepares to conclude her prep career with a sixth consecutive state tournament appearance in the Class 2A girls’ golf state meet. Her teammates will join her for the second consecutive year in the team event when the two-day tournament begins Tuesday at Ridges at Sand Creek in Jordan.

A year ago, Heck shared the state individual championship with Kate Smith of Detroit Lakes. It was Smith’s fifth consecutive title. They both wound up with 5-under-par 139s.

“Anni is a highly talented golfer,” Visitation coach Ann Feitl said. “Anni has a steady mind-set. She doesn’t get rattled or excited.”

Heck has been a model of consistency. She has never finished lower than seventh place in the state tournament and was the conference and section medalist every season.

“I have a great swing coach [Roger Fahrenkrug], and he’s the reason for my consistency,” Heck said.

“He’s also a big reason why I love the game.”

Heck’s father, Geoff, was an avid golfer. She wanted to follow in his footsteps and took to the links at the age of 6.

“He inspired me to focus on golf,” Heck said. “When I started with swing coaches in seventh and eighth grade, he sat back and watched. He knew I could handle myself.”

Fahrenkrug knew he had something special in Heck at a young age.

“At our first meeting I knew something was different when she showed up with a notebook. She was 9 years old,” Fahrenkrug said. “Watching her development into a great player as well as a wonderful person has been very rewarding to me, too.”

Heck focused on her short game — chipping and putting— at a young age.

“The older kids hit the ball so much further than me,” Heck said. “I had to chip and putt well to keep the score close.”

Heck finished sixth in the state tournament as a seventh-grader, and seventh a year later. As a freshman she moved up to fourth place.

“I really didn’t use my 5- or 6-iron until my freshman and sophomore seasons,” Heck said. “I love my long irons. They’re now my favorite clubs.”

As Heck has grown through the years, she has been presented with new challenges on the course. She has added yardage to her long game, forcing her to continuously work on her chipping between 80 and 110 yards.

“It’s the one thing I’m working on the hardest right now,” Heck said.

She would like nothing better than to go out with back-to-back medalist honors at the state meet.

“I’m a very independent person, and have pushed myself to be the golfer I am today,” Heck said. “I think I’ve been pretty successful.”

Heck is headed to the University of Denver in the fall. She will be a member of the Pioneers’ golf team while majoring in mechanical engineering.

“Denver is a great engineering school, and I’m passionate about math and science,” Heck said. “My first priority when I was looking at schools was academics. That is very important to me.”

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