After a heart-pounding two-hole tiebreaker playoff in an event that sent 14 players to the CGA’s 14th Vicki DiSantis Girls Championship, the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls Golf Tour returned to the Carolina Trace Country Club’s Lake Course just days later.
It was deja vu as players and their families rolled through the security gates that protect the community surrounding the duo of golf courses. Glaring sunshine welcomed the tour once again, rays piercing through the crystal clear blue skies and reflecting off the eloquent body of Lake Trace.
Mid-morning tee times set to commence at 11 a.m. gifted competitors the comfort extra hours of rest and relaxation, time to mentally prepare for the challenges that lay ahead on the Lake Course. The near-completely blossomed nature lining the course set a warm and comforting backdrop to Saturday’s round of golf.
The daunting viewpoint of downhill drops from elevated tee boxes leading to greens tightly enclosed by the surrounding water wasn’t quite as comforting. Nor was the water-lined right-hand boundary of the spectacular final test on Carolina Trace’s Lake Course.
PKBGT members don’t sign up for a walk in the park. They embrace and thrive off of the challenge. Saturday’s first round was another opportunity for the girls to showcase their skills with a strategic plan of attack to combat the course challenges.
The field of 54 didn’t lay in their hotel room, shaking in dread in thoughts of the strenuous course layout. They hit the practice facilities early, prepared to face the test of the pristine Lake Course.
In the optimal conditions for an afternoon of golf, take a look at how the leaderboard stands following the first round of play!
Morgan Ketchum (Winston-Salem, NC 2022) is prepared to declare the Lake Course at Carolina Trace her new home course. After winning a tiebreaker playoff on Monday to win the 2019 CGA/PKBGT Vicki DiSantis Qualifier, Ketchum finished the first round of the PKBGT Carolina’s Classic atop the leaderboard yet again! Ketchum came out roaring like a lion with a flawless front nine making the turn at even-par. Though she experienced a few hiccups in her round, Ketchum’s birdie on hole 12 helped even out her scorecard as she finished the first round with a score of 74 (+2).
One stroke behind Ketchum, Caroline Crumrine (Wilmington, NC 2020) finished the first round in second place with a score of 75 (+3) on the day. Crumrine set the pace early with a one-over front nine that included a birdie on the seventh hole. Aside from two bogeys on the back, Crumrine finished out the day strong with three pars in a row.
Sitting in a two-way tie for third place after the first round of play, Deborah Spair (Raleigh, NC 2020) and Paris Fieldings (Suffolk, VA 2023) each shot scores of 77 (+5) on the afternoon. Spair kickstarted her round with a birdie on the first hole and made one more on hole 11. Fieldings went on a tear to close out the front nine with three birdies in her last four holes. She came back to earth on the back nine but sits in a strong position to contend for the tournament title tomorrow, along with Spair.
Rounding out the top five in the 24 player Bell National field, in a two-way tie for fifth place, Alexia Siehl (Fort Mill, SC 2022) and Noelia Adkins (Bristol, TN 2021) both finished the first round with scores of 79 (+7). Siehl started her round off strong with a birdie on the first hole of play and Adkins found her best success with a birdie on the fourth hole.
Leading the charge in the 28 player Futures National field after the first round of play is McKenzie Daffin (Fayetteville, NC 2021) after firing a score of 73 (+1). Daffin closed out her front nine with a birdie on the final hole, one of four on the afternoon. She closed out the back with an even-par 36 to sit in first play heading into Sunday’s final round.
In second place, three shots off the lead, Ellen Yu (High Point, NC 2026) finished Saturday’s first round with a final score of 76 (+4). Yu finished the front nine with a two-over-par 38 and hit her stride on the par-three 13th hole with a birdie. Yu hopes to make a push on Sunday for a chance at the tournament championship.
Anna Howerton (Kernersville, NC 2023) closed out her first round in style with two birdies on her back nine. Howerton finished the round with a final score of 80 (+8) and is currently in third place in the Futures National division.
Finishing the first round in fourth place, Tyler Spriggs (Cary, NC 2023) leaves the premises after a score of 82 (+10) on Saturday. Spriggs finished the front nine with a fairly clean scoreboard, making par on all but two holes. Her back nine was bumpy at times, but she found her best success with a birdie on hole 15.
Closing out the Futures National top five – Grace Ridenour (Cary, NC 2025), Ella Perna (Durham, NC 2022) and May McDonell (Charlotte, NC 2022) finished the first round in a three-way tie for fifth place. All three players finished the day with scores of 83 (+11).
Sunday’s final round is set to mimic Saturday’s near-perfect weather with temperatures peaking in the mid-80’s and sunshine with clouds mixed in. The perfect setting for a thrilling finish where we find out who will stroll out of Sanford with the championship. Can Ketchum pull off the unthinkable duo of Carolina Trace championships in the same week? Will Daffin double down on her impressive first round performance? Stay up to date with live scoring below to see who comes out on top!
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/.