Tucked away underneath the shadows of the Appalachian Mountains, a hidden gem rests in the tranquility of western Virginia. The town of Salem may be known best for brewing local craft specialties and grooming the future crop of Boston Red Sox stars, but make a left off Electric Road and you’re thrust into a rustic treasure. Eighteen holes of isolation and a round of golf cupped in the delicate hands of nature.
Recouping from South Carolina’s simmering sunshine, the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls’ Golf Tour makes an about-face and jets northwest next weekend. Returning to the Middle Atlantic Region, the PKBGT takes on Hidden Valley Country Club for the 2019 PKBGT Valley Junior Girls’ Open. The inaugural event, in partnership with the Valley Junior Girls’ Open Scholarship Fund, will benefit the organization’s efforts to provide scholarships to local junior girls’ golfers.
On a course that’s consistently one of the best conditioned in the valley, 29 players will face the test of Hidden Valley’s compelling course layout. Two days of heated competition within two divisions: Bell National at 5,800 yards and Futures National at 5,275 yards.
If you plan on packing a mid-day snack of carrots and celery to power through the round, it’s time to burst your bubble – you won’t find any ranch at this Hidden Valley. But if you’re on the prowl for elite-level competition and a talented field junior girls’ golfers, Salem is the spot to be for the weekend.
Let’s take a closer look at the players to watch at the 2019 PKBGT Valley Junior Girls’ Open!
In search of her first win in the 2019 season, Melissa Meng (Blacksburg, VA 2020) strolls into Salem as the top-ranked player on both the PKBGT Performance Index and the Bell National Order of Merit in the field. Meng has four Top Ten finishes on the year including a second-place performance at the 2019 PKBGT Commonwealth Classic. She is fresh off of a fifth-place finish at the 2019 PKBGT Open Championship and looks to continue the trend of top finishes.
Challenging Meng with four Top Ten finishes of her own this year, Sue Lee (Lorton, VA 2022) tries for her first victory of the season. She has two Top Ten finishes at PKBGT championship events: eighth place at the PKBGT Masters and T10 at the PKBGT Open Championship. Lee is ranked 32nd on the Performance Index and 17th on the Order of Merit entering next weekend’s event.
Abby Hunter (Blacksburg, VA 2021) plays in her first Bell National event of the season. Hunter split time between the Futures National and Prep Preview divisions earlier in the season. She took home the championship in the Futures National division at the 2019 PKB Junior in December. With three Top Ten finishes in the Prep Preview division, Hunter hopes to grab the first top finish of her Bell National career.
Currently ranked third on the Futures National Order of Merit, Ellen Yu (High Point, NC 2026) looks to add to a loaded 2019 trophy display. Yu has three wins in her first season on the Futures National circuit: the 2019 PKBGT Spring Invitational, a tiebreaker playoff thriller at the 2019 PKBGT Carolina’s Classic, and her last event at the 2019 PKBGT Open Championship. She has four other Futures National Top Ten finishes and a victory in her lone North Carolina Regional Series event at the 2019 PKBGT Gate City Classic.
Riding into the Valley Junior Girls Open off of back-to-back runner-up performances, Madison Messimer (Myrtle Beach, SC 2025) tries to tackle her first win on the tour. Messimer is currently ranked fifth on the Order of Merit and has four Top Five finishes on the year. She finished runner-up at the 2019 PKBGT Spring Invitational, the 2019 PKBGT Open Championship, and T2 at the 2019 PKBGT Coastal Carolina Classic.
Rounding out the players to watch in Salem next weekend, Emerson Dever (Durham, NC 2025) enters the tournament inside the Top Ten on the Order of Merit. She is currently ranked sixth and has four Top Ten finishes on the season. Her top performance came at the 2019 PKBGT Discovery Invitational in November, and her best Futures National event was a T5 finish at the 2019 PKBGT Masters.
We would like to thank all of our competitors the best of luck at next weekends 2019 PKBGT Valley Junior Girls’ Open! We are thrilled to partner with the Valley Junior Girls’ Open Scholarship Fund to present the event. To stay up to date with the action, be sure to follow live scoring!
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/.