The energetic aura surrounding the annual Tobacco Road Rivalry at the Dean Dome Saturday evening traveled through Chapel Hill, resonating across the home course of the UNC Women’s Golf team early in the morning.
Cool temperatures and gloomy grey clouds couldn’t stifle the PKBGT from lighting up the course. With an 8 a.m. double-tee start, the Tour took over Finley GC by storm. From the get-go, the leaderboard at the Tar Heel Classic was jam-packed with red numbers of under-par rounds dictating the pace.
Early afternoon, the scorecards came rolling in. The practice putting greens filled to the brink. Some players ironed out the kinks in hopes of making a final-round push while others prepared to fend off the field and remain atop the leaderboard.
Here is how the leaderboard stands in each division after the first round of play at the 2019 PKBGT Tar Heel Classic.
Light ‘em up, up, up: she’s on fire! Sydney Yermish (Pinehurst, NC 2023) torched the course with a three-under-par 69 in the first round of play. After an early hiccup with a bogey on her first hole, Yermish went on a 17-hole tear which included four birdies in five holes on the later portion of her front nine into the first two on her back. She enters the final round as the leader of the 40 player Bell National field.
Despite the stellar round, Yermish has little-to-no breathing room with several players knocking on the door, eager to swipe the lead from her hands. Caroline Curtis (Richmond, VA 2019) and Lauren Freyvogel (Gibsonia, PA 2019) are in a two-way tie for second place, just one stroke behind Yermish. Each firing two-under par 70’s, Freyvogel finished with four birdies on the day while Curtis finished with three. Both players are chomping at the bit for the opportunity in tomorrow’s final round to sprint past the competition on the path to the championship.
In fourth place, also firing an under-par first round, Muskan Uppal (Cornelius, NC 2019) finished the day with a 71 (-1). Uppal faced some adversity with a double-bogey on the sixth hole but found her stride, rallying back with birdies on the eighth, 10th and 17th holes.
Finishing the first round in a three-way tie for fifth place, Mary Kathryn Talledo (Spartanburg, SC 2021), Mia Gray (Conway, SC 2023) and Emma Chen (Derwood, MD 2022) each posted scores of even-par 72.
Continuing the trend of under-par finishes, Lexi Schulman (Vernon Hills, IL 2023) leads the 24 player Prep Preview field after coasting through the first round. The Illinois native is no stranger to brisk conditions and posted a one-under-par 71, striking early with a birdie on the front nine. She balanced out two bogeys with another two birdies on the back nine to hold on to the under-par round and enter the final round in sole position atop the leaderboard.
Three strokes behind Schulman, Macy Pate (Boone, NC 2024) finished the day with a score of 74 (+2). Pate had a roller coaster ride of a day in the first round. She struggled early, bogeying three of her first four holes before bouncing back with a string of three birdies over the next five holes to close out her front nine. Another birdie on the par-5 13th placed her in the red, under par for the day, but three birdies in the last five holes left her two-over on the day. Pate looks to take the positives from her first round and consistently gnaw away at Schulman’s lead in the final round.
In a two-way tie for third place after the first round, Abby Hunter (Blacksburg, VA 2021) and Megan Morris (Cary, NC 2021) each finished with scores of 76 (+4). Morris played consistently, with only a few hiccups in her round, while Hunter made birdie on the eighth to stay in the hunt.
Amber Capote (Waxhaw, NC 2020) rounded out the top five in fifth place with a score of 77 (+5).
Sophie Lauture (Raleigh, NC 2024) leads the 23 player Futures National field after posting a first-round score of 76 (+4). Lauture made three birdies on the day, continuing the momentum she built in winning her last tournament at the RocketTour Players Championship. She looks to keep up the pace in the final round on the prowl for back-to-back wins.
In second place with a first-round score of 77 (+5) is Josephine Nguyen (Springfield, VA 2024). Nguyen fell behind early, starting on the back nine, with a string of bogeys. She powered back and played a consistent front nine with a birdie on the fifth hole to put herself in the position to contend in the final round, just one stroke behind Lauture.
With a birdie on the 11th hole after starting on the back nine, Emerson Dever (Durham, NC 2025) was off to a strong start in the first round. She finished the day with a score of 78 (+6) and is just two strokes back of the lead in third place.
Maya Beasley (Croton-on-Hudson, NY 2023) and Mary Sears Brown (Wake Forest, NC 2021) round out the top five in fourth and fifth place respectively. Beasley finished three strokes back of the lead with a 79 (+7) and Brown finished four strokes back at 80 (+8).
The temperature is set to surpass 70 degrees on Sunday for the final round of the 2019 Tar Heel Classic. Play is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. with a double-tee start. With a ferocious first-round of impressive scores, Round 2 promises to amp up the intensity and excitement. We wish all of our competitors the best of luck in the final round of the 2019 Tar Heel Classic!
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 player’s 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/.