Rachel Heck paused for a somber moment after she heard the name Victoria Pinckney on the first tee. On Monday, every player in the field at the NCAA Championship played in memory of a fallen U.S. soldier. Air Force captain Pinckney, a 27-year-old mom, died in Kyrgyzstan while serving during Operation Enduring Freedom.
Heck walked over to the starter to write down Pinckney’s name on her scorecard before she left the tee box. The Stanford freshman held a 5-shot lead going into the final round, but at this moment, her mind was far away from what was on the line. Heck joined the ROTC program at Stanford and hopes to serve in the Air Force Reserve while competing on the LPGA.
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