On Saturday-Sunday, March 23-24, the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls’ Golf Tour plays the 2019 Cape Fear Classic presented by Evolve Golf at the Country Club of Landfall.
Pack the bags and head to the coast! While the PKBGT rings in the warmer seasons at the 2019 PKBGT Spring Invitational this weekend, the field of 55 set to flock the shorelines of Wilmington, NC for the 2019 Cape Fear Classic, presented by Evolve Golf, may be looking ahead to a pre-summer date with the soothing sound of crashing ocean waves.
Though the Tour is not quite in clear sailing, confident to shed the hefty jackets and beanies, a late-march trip to North Carolina’s coastal paradise exemplifies the leap from rosy red cheeks and post-tournament sniffles to sunscreen and short sleeves.
Mere miles from the historic downtown of the Cape Fear Coast and Wilmington’s sandy beaches, The Country Club of Landfall plays host to the event. The home of the UNC Wilmington Women’s Golf Team provides yet another Division 1 challenge for the girls in high-level collegiate course design.
It may be too early to break out the flip flops and bathing suits for the weekend, but any remaining chill in the air will be stifled by the heat of competition within the PKBGT’s two National divisions: Bell National competing at 5,824 yards and Futures National competing at 5,168 yards.
We dive deep into the sea of players taking part in the 2019 Cape Fear Classic.
Heading the 22 player Bell National field is Maria Atwood (Holly Spring, NC 2022), currently ranked sixth on the PKBGT Performance Index. Atwood is fresh off of a top ten finish at the 2019 Tar Heel Classic, ending the weekend tied for ninth place. In doing so, she climbed into second place on the Bell National Order of Merit. Her top performance of the 2019 season thus far came as a T2 finish at the PKB Junior in late-December.
Escaping the brutal winter ongoing in the Mid-Atlantic, Kendall Turner (Chesapeake, VA 2019) looks to take her 2019 season to the next level. Turner, a six-year veteran of the tour, is currently ranked eighth on the Performance Index. Her lone appearance this season resulted in a seventh-place finish at the PKBGT Invitational and she is still on the chase for her first PKBGT win. Turner looks to ride the wave to victory at the Cape Fear Classic.
Members travel far and wide to compete at PKBGT events across the east coast. For Grace Holcomb (Wilmington, NC 2021), the 2019 Cape Fear Classic is quite the exception. Holcomb is currently the top-ranked player on the Prep Preview Order of Merit and dips her feet in the Bell National division for the third time this season. With a win in the Prep Preview division at the Tournament of Champions under her belt, she has an additional incentive to break into the Top 10 of a Bell National field for the first time this season: competing in her hometown.
Entering the tournament inside the Top 70 of the Performance Index, Victoria Ladd (Greensboro, NC 2019) anticipates a return to her end-of-season form from 2018. Ladd took third place honors in last year’s Tour Championship and is in search of her first Top 10 finish of the 2019 campaign.
Grayson Warren (Washington, NC 2021) enters the event ranked inside the Top 100 on the Performance Index and is cruising into the weekend at Wilmington after her posting her best scores of the season at the 2019 Tar Heel Classic. Warren broke 80 in both rounds at Chapel Hill and her first full season on the Bell National circuit has resembled a roller coaster ride to date. With three events under her belt, she aims to replicate her performance from last season’s Carolina’s Classic where she took home the championship trophy in the Futures National division.
The top of the leaderboard feels like home recently for Sophie Lauture (Raleigh, NC 2024) who leads the field of 33 players in the Futures National division into the Cape Fear Classic. Lauture, currently the top-ranked player on the Futures National Order of Merit, is riding a hot streak entering the weekend in Wilmington. Last weekend’s fifth-place finish at the Tar Heel Classic added to her a fourth Top Five finish to her 2019 season, which features a win at the RocketTour Players Championship and a second place finish at the Orange Whip Classic.
Not far behind, knocking at Lauture’s door, Grace Ridenour (Cary, NC 2025) looks to leap atop the Futures National Order of Merit with a strong performance at the Country Club of Landfall. Ridenour, currently in second place on the Order of Merit Rankings, is fresh off of a T11 finish at UNC Finley GC. She has a win to her name from the Palmetto Dunes Resort Classic in Hilton Head Island paired with a second-place finish at the PKB Foundation Classic. A top finish in Wilmington would leave Ridenour primed for a run at the Order of Merit Championship to cap her already remarkable 2019 season.
Capping off a trio of players vying for the top spot on the Futures National Order of Merit, Katerina Klein (Charleston, SC 2020) returns to the tour in her first appearance since the RocketTour Players Championship where she finished in third place. Currently ranked third on the Order of Merit, Klein has five Top 10 finishes in as many tries in the 2019 season.
Braelyn Pippin (Waxhaw, NC 2020) is bent on redemption at the Cape Fear Classic after an injury forced her to withdraw from the Tar Heel Classic following the first round of play. Pippin was hot off of her top finish of the season, coming in second place at the RocketTour Players Championship. She is currently ranked fourth on the Futures National Order of Merit.
Rounding out the players to watch at the 2019 Cape Fear Classic is Kyleigh Harnsberger (Advance, NC 2021). Harnsberger made a push with a T9 finish at the Tar Heel Classic, jumping into 15 spots into 12th place on the Order of Merit. Consistent improvement is a theme in her season, with a T13 finish at the PKB Junior and a T12 finish at the Orange Whip Classic preceding her round in Chapel Hill.
About Our Event Partner, Evolve Golf
Evolve Golf, makers of the number one performance golf tee, partners with the PKBGT for the first time at the 2019 Cape Fear Classic! A decade and a half since breaking into the golf industry, Evolve Golf re-imagined the design of the golf tee with the Epoch. The Epoch has tested and proven to provide greater total distance and accuracy than competing products, one of the many reasons that Tour players and PGA professionals across the country rely on it. With an ever-expanding product-line, the Tour is thrilled to have Evolve Golf as a partner for the event in the hometown of their state-of-the-art facility: Wilmington, NC.
We wish all of our competitors the best of luck at the 2019 Cape Fear Classic! The home course of the UNC Wilmington Women’s Golf Team promises to provide a captivating challenge for the players and a sensational weekend of competition along the history Cape Fear coast!
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/.