This article, written by Kevin Casey, was originally published by Golfweek.com.
For a second straight year, a Bruin got on stage at the ANNIKA Award Presented by 3M banquet and didn’t really hold back.
In 2015, it was Alison Lee reflecting on her ANNIKA Award from the previous year. This time it was Bronte Law talking about what led to her 2016 ANNIKA Award win.
The UCLA senior didn’t spare herself any ridicule Sunday in the dinner following the first round of the ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M, as she chronicled in front of the banquet hall crowd how more or less she could be a complete malcontent as a freshman. A stubborn young player – as Law noted, she could never be wrong – whose attitude needed a makeover.
It was a peel-back-the-mask speech that proved Law may have no fears.
“I just spoke from the heart,” Law said. “I wanted to give an insight into my whole college experience and probably give some advice to all of the girls out there. Tell them, hey if you’re going through this right now, I went through it. It’s normal.”
Based on the composed, endearing Law that showed up on stage Sunday, it’s hard to believe the description of herself from three years ago. Regardless, what she’s done since has rocketed her straight to the ANNIKA.
Despite her attitudinal struggles, Law was Second Team All-Pac-12 as a freshman. But then she got serious. Law jumped to Pac-12 Conference Golfer of the Year as a sophomore thanks to two wins and seven total top 10s, and then came the three-win 2015-16 campaign that netted her the ANNIKA.
What allowed her to make the leap (besides more experience)?
For one, Law saw two teammates win the award before her. Law was a UCLA freshman in 2014 when fellow Bruin Lee captured the award, and Maguire had been on a Curtis Cup team with Law prior to her 2015 ANNIKA win.
This fueled Law’s belief.
“Being on a team with them before and beating them before, I kind of knew I had the capability… it showed me, ‘Bronte, you can also go on to win this,’ ” Law said.
She just had to put the work in to take the next step, and she did. Her attitude got better, as did her attention to nutrition, workouts and all of the minutiae that goes into constructing a golfer.
It’s led to a higher-achieving Law who feels more content in her actions. UCLA head coach Carrie Forsyth has witnessed the transformation, although she thinks Law is possibly being a bit hard on her freshman self.
“It (probably) seems in her mind like this vast change and yeah ultimately you mature and grow up. It’s just normal maturity,” Forsyth said. “For the athlete to see that change in themselves is pretty substantial for her.”
But for all Law has changed, it doesn’t mean she’s lost her sense of humor.
Lee, an LPGA pro still taking classes to graduate from UCLA, and Law still live together. And now that Law has her own ANNIKA Award, she lets her roommate know about it.
“I joke with her, ‘I’m as good as you are, Alison,’ ” Law said.
Her coach has her own funny wit. Forsyth got on stage before Law to talk about her second ANNIKA Award winner in three years. While praise was plenty, the coach at one point went into an anecdote about Friday 7 a.m. practices not being Law’s favorite because she likes to go out the night before.
Or as Forsyth then put succinctly… “Bronte Law loves a good party.”
That one got some laughs, and one squirming spectator.
“When she said that, I was like ‘Oh my gosh, this is so embarrassing,’ ” Law said. “Now the whole room knows.”
“But it’s all good. It’s true,” Law said with a laugh.
Law also found some humor in an ANNIKA Award tradition.
It’s only the award’s third year, but Law followed Lee and Maguire in penning a private note and putting it in the base of the trophy.
The content of what she wrote is to remain secret, although Law did offer a hint in that it was a note back to herself on what she hopes she can achieve.
As for advice she got from Lee and Maguire on what to write in the first place, she did reveal how entirely unhelpful they were.
“They told me yeah (write) whatever you want,” Law said. “And I was like, well that’s not very good advice.”
OK Lee may not be the greatest advice-giver on this point, but she and her roommate can now put both their ANNIKA trophies on display.
And in the end, whatever happened in the past, Law can now say this: “I think it’s cool to win the same award as your best friend.”
Certainly is. And definitely worth a good party.