A season-long journey for the field of 72 winds down to a close at the PKBGT Tour Championship this weekend. Gathering at the home course of our tour matriarch, Peggy Kirk Bell, Pine Needles Lodge & GC plays host to the final event for the 2019 National Series.
Competitors marched down the same fairways as Annika Sorenstam (1996), Karie Webb (2001) and Christie Kerr (2007) in their respective U.S. Women’s Open victories of Pine Needles’ past. Instead of an LPGA championship, players are chasing the final major championship event of the 2019 PKBGT season.
Along with the championship trophy, several players in both the Bell National and Futures National divisions are in the midst of a race for the Order of Merit championship! Needless to say, the stakes are set high for the weekend in Southern Pines.
Unlike the tour’s last stop at Mrs. Bell’s home course in December, the sweltering heat of late-summer’s August sun pelted down on players and spectators throughout Saturday’s first-round play. Stagnant air couldn’t stifle the tour’s top talent from letting loose and showcasing their abilities in the challenge of Pine Needles.
Fully blossomed tree-lined fairways set a soothing atmosphere to ease the sharp competition taking part on the course. A complete takeover, the ping of PKBGT drivers occupied the first tee nearly four hours. Heading into the final round of play, the championship trophy is up for grabs in both divisions. Let’s take a look at where the leaderboard stands following the first round of play at the PKBGT Tour Championship!
The top of the Bell National leaderboard was painted red following Saturday’s first-round as six players posted under-par performances in Southern Pines!
Leading the pack, posting a goliath four-under-par 68, Rory Weinfurther (Midlothian, VA 2020) grabbed the early lead at the PKBGT Tour Championship. Weinfurther dropped six birdies on the afternoon, including a back-to-back pair to close out her round.
Trailing by one stroke, unleashing her own three-under-par 69, Kara Carter (Kingsport, TN 2021) holds on to second place entering the final round of play. Carter’s scorecard was squeaky clean after a bogey-free round on Saturday. She made three birdies, two of which came in her two-under-par 34 on the front nine.
In third place, following the trend of extraordinary performances, Catie Craig (Sautee Nacoochee, GA 2021) posted a two-under-par 70 in her first round of play. Craig hopped on the birdie train around the turn, carding a string of three-in-a-row from holes eight through ten. She closed out her round with eight straight pars in a one-under-par back nine.
Rounding out the top five in the Bell National division, Kendall Turner (Chesapeake, VA 2019), Adrian Anderson (Murrells Inlet, SC 2022) and Vynie Chen (Centreville, VA 2020) each put on one-under-par performances, posting scores of 71 on the afternoon.
Turner matched Weinfurther with a first-round high of six birdies, including three in a row from holes 11 to 13. Anderson posted three birdies of her own and made eagle to kick off her back nine. Chen made four birdies and closed out her round in style, a scorching run of three straight birdies.
Locked in a dead-heat for the lead following Saturday’s first round of play, Ellen Yu (High Point, NC 2026) and Sophie Lauture (Raleigh, NC 2024) each posted first-round scores of 76 (+4). Yu found her hot streak on the front nine, on a tear of three birdies in a row between the fifth and seventh holes. Lauture posted one birdie on the day.
In third place, one stroke behind the leaders, Reagan Folk (Madison, GA 2024) finished the first round with a score of 77 (+5). Folk made one birdie on the afternoon and closed out her back nine with five straight pars.
Emily Wang (Mclean, VA 2024) sits one off of Folk in fourth place with a first-round score of 78 (+6). Wang made two birdies on the day, one of which helped kickstart her back nine on hole ten.
Closing out the top of the Futures National leaderboard, Anna Howerton (Kernersville, NC 2023), Kathryn Ha (Roanoke, VA 2025) and Grace Ridenour (Cary, NC 2025) each share a piece of fifth place. All three players finished the round with scores of 79 (+7).
One round remains in the 2019 PKBGT National Series, and competitors have a final chance to make a push to improve their rankings and challenge for the trophy. They will leave it all out on the course Sunday, providing an exhilarating finish to a season packed with entertainment. Be sure to follow live scoring at the link below to see how the final round pans 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/.