Emerald tree-lined fairways welcomed the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls’ Golf Tour on Saturday as Salem played host to the tour’s return to the Middle Atlantic Region on the national stage. Spectacular clear skies with the soft white stroke of streaking clouds served as a ceiling for a picture-perfect afternoon – resembling the end result of a soothing watercolor session by the steady brush of Bob Ross.
Peering over treetops, the Appalachian Mountains towered in the distance, visible in their entirety from miles away. As previously warned, the field of 26 competitors – along with their friends, family and supportive spectators – did not stumble upon a vat of creamy, delicious ranch dressing despite spending the afternoon at Hidden Valley Country Club. No, they would have to travel west to California to discover that gold mine, but Salem’s stunning landscape and vibrant golf course made up for any misunderstanding.
In partnership with the Valley Junior Girls Open Scholarship Fund, the PKBGT strolled into Virginia for the 2019 PKBGT Valley Junior Girls Open. With steady temperatures and a field hungry for competition, let’s take a look at where the two divisions stand following the first round!
At the end of Saturday afternoon, one play jumped ahead of the pack and is Lee-ding the Bell National field of 11 players by three strokes. Sue Lee (Lorton, VA 2022) fired off an even-par first-round score of 72 in Salem. She jumped out of the gates, making birdie on three of her first four holes. She sank one more on the 16th hole to cap of a stellar opening day performance.
Three strokes behind Lee in second place, Melissa Meng (Blacksburg, VA 2020) hopes to make a run on Sunday to challenge for the lead. Meng made the turn at one-under-par, slipping up on the later half with a tough close to her afternoon. Regardless, she came out with a score of 75 (+3) and is very much in contention for the top spot in the final round.
Topping Meng’s front nine score, Maddie Smithco (Cranberry Township, PA 2020) made the turn with a 34 (-2) before hitting a rough patch on the back nine. She made three birdies on the afternoon and currently sits in third place.
Rounding out the top five in the Bell National field, Rachel Detore (Fredericksburg, VA 2020) is in fourth place and Ester Choi (Midlothian, VA 2021) hangs on in fifth place at the completion of the first round. Detore posted a score of 78 (+6) on the afternoon while Choi shot an 84 (+12).
Contrasting the Bell National division, the Futures National field of 15 is up for grabs heading into Sunday’s final round. Amelia Cho (Ashburn, VA 2024) topped the leaderboard at the end of the first round, posting a score of 77 (+5). Cho made two birdies on the afternoon.
Kathryn Ha (Roanoke, VA 2025) is currently in second place, just one stroke behind Cho. Ha finished with a score of 76 (+6) on Saturday, making three birdies in her first-round performance.
In third place after posting a first-round score of 77 (+7), Ellen Yu (High Point, NC 2026) looks to make a run on Sunday and surge for another victory on her season. Yu stumbled out of the gates, but made up ground on the back nine and closed out her round with a birdie on the 17th hole.
Slightly separated from the head of the pack, Kaitlyn Mosdell (Roanoke, VA 2021) and Grace Addison (Abingdon, VA 2023) round out the top five of the Futures National division. Mosdell is in fourth place after posting a score of 81 (+9) on Saturday afternoon. Addison posted an 84 (+12) to grab the fifth place spot entering the final round.
In a special Father’s Day Final Round edition of the PKBGT, the Valley Junior Girls Open is up for the taking in both divisions. Can Lee hold on for a wire-to-wire victory, her first of the season? Who will separate themselves from the rest in the Futures National division? Stay tuned to live scoring tomorrow afternoon 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/.