On Saturday, February 16, the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls’ Golf Tour played the first round of the 2019 RocketTour Players Championship at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens, GA. It was a dawg-gone gorgeous day at the home course of the UGA Women’s Golf Team, and the golf on the course matched those conditions.
Presented by RocketTour Golf, players were greeted at the check-in table with a new RocketTour Players Championship signature stripe headcover. Tee times began at 9 a.m. on the first and tenth holes. Play concluded in the early evening as the sun began its descent behind the course treeline, leaving a warm glow on the practice facilities where the girls took their last practice strokes before heading out, in preparation for tomorrow’s final round.
The Bell National leaderboard is crowded as ten players finished within four strokes of the lead. On the Prep Preview and Futures National stage, it remains anyone’s tournament to win. With a round of play in the books and one more to go, we take a look at where the leaderboard stands at the end of day one.
Atop the 35 player Bell National field following the first round of play is Madeline Ananthasane (Auburn, GA 2020), shooting a 75 (+3) on the day. Ananthasane bounced back after a tough fourth hole with a birdie, kickstarting her run to the top of the leaderboard that included a total of four birdies. She birdied two of the final three holes and looks to carry that momentum into the final round.
One stroke behind Ananthasane, shooting a 76 (+4), is Christian Williams (Tallapoosa, GA 2021). Williams played steadily through the first 14 holes and caught fire, with back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th, closing out a one-under-par back nine.
Kyndall Shamblin (Cleveland, TN 2022) and Paris Fieldings (Suffolk, VA 2023) tied for third place after shooting first-round scores of 77 (+5). Shamblin started the day hot with a birdie on the first hole, while Fieldings finished the day on a strong note with two birdies on her back nine.
Rounding out the top five, in a tie for fifth place, are Karlee Vardas (Lexington, SC 2021) and Sara Im (Duluth, GA 2023). Vardas experienced a few bumps in her front nine but remained composed and finished on a high note, in a solid position to contend on day two. Im sprinkled in two birdies on the day and put together a streak of pars on her back nine.
There are five players tied for seventh place, just four strokes off the lead and one stroke behind the fifth place players.
Sarah Hsu (Buford, GA 2019) holds the lead in the 21 player Prep Preview field after the first day in Athens. Hsu shot a 75 (+3) and remains two-strokes ahead of her closest competitor. Her scorecard was relatively clean on the day and she knocked in two birdies on the front nine.
It’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish. That’s the motto Autumn Cary (Manning, SC 2022) followed, ending her day on a high note with a birdie on her second-last hole. That put her within two strokes of Hsu as she ended the day with a score of 77 (+5). Carey looks to transfer that success into her round tomorrow.
The youngest player in the Prep Preview field, Hailey Han (Duluth, GA 2025) finished the first round in sole possession of third place, shooting a score of 80 (+8). In a round that included two birdies, Han battled through and put herself in a position to compete in the final day of play.
With a first-round score of 81 (+9), Genevieve Wu (Johns Creek, GA 2022) finished the day in fourth place. She looks to make a push in the final day of play, just one stroke behind Han and still within position to win the tournament.
Katelyn Kenthack (Pinehurst, NC 2020) closed out her front nine with a birdie on hole 18, after teeing off of hole 10 to start her day. Kenthack sits in fifth place at days end, shooting a first-round score of 82 (+10).
Leading the 12 player Futures National field after the first round of play is Madelyn Vogan (New Bern, NC 2023). Vogan finished the day with a score of 84 (+12) and the top spot on the leaderboard.
In second place, one stroke behind Vogan is Braelyn Pippin (Waxhaw, NC 2020). Pippin shot an 85 (+13) on the day including a birdie on the 12th hole.
Sophie Lauture (Raliegh, NC 2024) finished the day in third place, three strokes off the lead and two strokes off of Pippin in second place. Lauture’s 87 (+15) on the round included a birdie on the 13th hole.
The second and final round of the 2019 RocketTour Players Championship will commence tomorrow morning with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. Players will be required to be at their cart at 8:10 a.m. The practice facilities will open early in the morning: the putting green at 7 a.m. and the driving range shortly after at 7:15. Each player will receive one small bucket of the range’s practice balls to ensure that everyone receives adequate warm-up time.
We look forward to an exciting finish to the tournament tomorrow morning at the University of Georgia Golf Course in Athens!
About the PKBGT
Founded in 2007 by the Triad Youth Golf Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, as a local girls’ golf tour in the Triad region of North Carolina, the tour began as a simple concept: create more effective competitive playing opportunities for girls. By utilizing innovative yardage-based divisions instead of the traditional age-based format, the tour focused on developing tournament experience at the players pace. The 2019 season will feature over 90 tournaments in 9 states on the East Coast and with over 900 members, the PKBGT is the largest girl’s only tour in the country. Learn more about the PKBGT at http://www.pkbgt.org/.