On Saturday morning, it would have been easy to mistake the driving range and putting practice facilities at the Country Club of Salisbury for the sand-filled shorelines flocked by Memorial Day beachgoers. Purple and black PKB umbrellas lined the grounds, shading the faces of competitors set to take the course for the 1 p.m. shotgun start.
Unlike Portland’s professional basketball team in last week’s Western Conference Finals, the sun was blazing on a crystal clear day in Salisbury. Occasional clouds served as nature’s umbrella, blocking the simmering sunshine for a momentary respite from the blistering heat.
If last weekend required extreme water consumption, the forecasted heat over Memorial Day weekend would take the PKB’s hydration efforts to a professional level. With the scorching sun absorbed by the vibrant green grass, players paraded from the practice facilities to Country Club of Salisbury’s patio area for a buffet lunch.
Following a smorgasbord of sandwiches, pasta salad and chocolate chip cookies, push carts were packed onto carts and shuttled to their respective holes for the shotgun start. After 18 holes of play, several players sat in the red, posting under par scores.
Let’s take a look at where the leaderboard stands following the first round of play!
The only hint of gray in Salisbury on Saturday was at the top of the 55 player Bell National field. Mia Gray (Conway, SC 2023) came out scorching, posting a first-round score of 69 (-2). Gray made seven birdies on the afternoon including back-to-back birdies on holes 15 and 16. She looks to carry over her success into Sunday’s second round and remain in sole possession of first place.
One stroke behind Gray, Kendall Turner (Chesapeake, VA 2019) produced her own impressive one-under-par performance. She posted a score of 70 (-1) on the afternoon. Turner dropped three birdies in a row from holes 11 to 13.
In third place, after posting a first-round score of 71 (E), Kelly Topiwala (Matthews, NC 2020) put herself in a strong position to contend in the final two days of competition. Topiwala posted two birdies on the day, and a one-under par front nine of 34.
Rounding out the Top Five in the Bell National division, in a three-way tie for fourth place was Maria Atwood (Holly Springs, NC 2021), Mackenzie Gallagher (Orlando, FL 2021) and Sydney Hackett (Ashburn, VA 2022). All three players posted first-round scores of 72 (+1).
Secure atop the leaderboard of the 32 player Futures National field is Grace Ridenour (Cary, NC 2025). Looking to add to her trophy display with another win in the 2019 season, Ridenour is off to a strong start in doing so. She posted a one-under-par first-round score of 70 (-1) with three birdies on the front nine, and eight pars on the back.
One stroke behind Ridenour, posting a first-round score of 71 (E) was Ellen Yu (High Point, NC 2026). Yu, also familiar with the top of the leaderboard, challenged Ridenour for the top spot for the duration of the afternoon. Her front nine scorecard was clean, making par on every hole, and dropping two birdies into her back nine.
Amelia Cho (Ashburn, VA 2024) hopped on the birdie train Saturday, making three in the first-round performance that landed her in third place on the leaderboard. Cho posted a first-round score of 74 (+3).
Closing out the Top Finishers from Saturday’s first round, Anna Howerton (Kernersville, NC 2023) and Madison Messimer (Myrtle Beach, SC 2025) each posted scores of 75 (+4). The pair are tied for fourth place entering Sunday’s second round.
Sunday presents one final opportunity for players to put out a strong performance and make the cut for Monday’s final round. Can Gray follow-up her two-under-par performance in a similar fashion? Will Ridenour ride the wave and stand above the rest come Monday? Stay tuned to the live scoring link below to find out!
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/.