On Saturday-Sunday, September 21-22, the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls’ Golf Tour plays the 2019 PKBGT North Carolina Series Finale at Colonial Country Club in Thomasville, NC.
Over the past seven months, 15 single and multi-day events took place across the Tarheel state while players competed to earn a top spot on the coveted North Carolina Regional Order of Merit– presented by Storie Apparel. Serving as the largest and one of the most competitive regional series on the PKBGT schedule, the series featured over 280 unique participants from North Carolina and beyond.
These PKBGT regional events offer innovative yardage-based divisions to girls aged 9-17. The PKBGT Series Progression allows players to progress towards playing collegiate golf by playing yardage/skill appropriate tournaments as they develop their game.
What’s at stake?
Along with the Order of Merit honors, the 2019 North Carolina Prep and Futures champions will earn their spot in the 2019 PKBGT Tournament of Champions.
In addition, both players will have the opportunity to compete in the inaugural PKBGT Regional Invitational, to be held at Carolina National Golf Club in Bolivia, NC. This invitation-only event was started in 2019 to bring together the top competitors across the PKBGT’s six regional series spanning from Orlando, FL to Philadelphia, PA.
An exciting carrot for the Prep competitors, the top three finishers of the Prep Invitational will earn their spot in the 11th annual PKBGT Invitational this November – an event whose past champions include numerous NCAA All-Americans and LPGA Tour Professionals.
To add to the fun, players will be recognized for their 2019 North Carolina Order of Merit titles at the Storie Apparel Awards banquet, held at Carolina National on Saturday, October 26th.
For Discovery players there lies a chance to qualify for the prestigious (and fun!) Discovery Invitational played on Hilton Head Island this November. The top 33% of the North Carolina Discovery Order of Merit will earn their spot in addition to all event champions.
The stage is set and the field is prepared for the final 36-hole journey of the 2019 North Carolina regional season. Let’s take a look at this season’s frontrunners!
Holding a significant, season-long lead atop the North Carolina Prep Order of Merit, Halynn Lee (Cary, NC 2020) enters the field in hopes to hang onto what would be her first PKBGT Order of Merit title. With one win and two top-five finishes, Lee currently leads by nearly 30 points. With a good finish this weekend at Colonial, Lee will be well on her way to the winner’s circle.
Currently in second place with two first-place finishes on her resume, Sophie Lauture (Charlotte, NC 2024) sits behind Lee with 93 points for the series. Lauture, a force to be reckoned with, has shown great success on the PKBGT National circuit as she took home the 2019 Futures National Order of Merit and the 2019 Tour Championship title last month.
Not far behind Lauture sits Anna Howerton (Kernersville, NC 2023) at nearly 84 points. Howerton, who is also set to compete in this weekend’s finale event, claimed three North Carolina regional titles this season.
This weekend’s series-concluding action at Colonial Country Club has the potential to really shake up the North Carolina Futures Order of Merit. A crowded leaderboard, five players currently sit within 20 points of first place.
Sitting atop the leaderboard is McKenzie Weddle (Floyd, VA 2023) at nearly 160 points. Weddle, who will not be competing in the series finale this weekend, carded three victories over the course of the regional series – with a season best score of 74 at Monroe Country Club.
Just six points back from Weddle sits Brooke Smith (Morrisville, NC 2022) at 152.50 points. Smith has propelled herself into a second place standing on the Order of Merit with strong play all season long. Although Smith stands strong on the Order of Merit, she has not been able to secure a win on the PKBGT circuit – leaving the potential for a victory this weekend to propel her atop the series Order of Merit. Stay tuned!
Third and fourth place of the Futures race are separated by a mere two points – Kinsley Smith (Raleigh, NC 2024) and Leah Edwards (Greensboro, NC 2025). Smith’s series performance was highlighted by her victory at Mill Creek Country Club where she posted a smooth 76. Edwards, like Smith (Brooke), has not won during her regional play – leaving the potential of a victory to help her finish highon the series standings.
A dominant force on both the North Carolina and Southeast Order of Merit, Gracie Song (Waxhaw, NC 2026) sits atop of the North Carolina Discovery Order of Merit with 94 points. Song, who also leads the Southeast Discovery Order of Merit, has earned five event titles this season, including a record-breaking performance of eight-under-par at Forest Oaks Country Club. Although Gracie will not be participating in the series finale, her strong play may be enough to secure herself the series title for 2019.
Sitting in second place on the Discovery Order of Merit is Ellie Acrey (Winston-Salem, NC 2026) with a total of 63.5 points. Acrey’s best finish of the season came a few weekend’s back at the Country Club of Whispering Pines where she posted a score of 39.
In a tie for the second most victories on the North Carolina Discovery circuit, Elle Crichton (Cary, NC 2026) sits in third place after winning events at Sapona Golf Club and Pinewood Country Club. Crichton, who sits at 54.25 points, is just four points ahead of High Point native Riley Grimm (High Point, NC 2027) who has accumulated 50 points over the season.
We would like to wish all of our competitors the best of luck in this weekend’s North Carolina Series Finale! With 36 holes left to prove themselves, there is certain to be a number of determined players gracing the course with impressive skill and competition!
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/.