2019 Tar Heel Classic
Pushing through the early-morning fog in a deep history of neck-and-neck battles between the top players on the PKBGT National Series, the 2019 Tar Heel Classic came down to the wire once again. Several divisions required bonus golf to determine a champion. The level of intensity every player brought to UNC Finley GC early Saturday morning never wavered, with battles across the board in all divisions, responding to the challenge set by the PKBGT’s past and etching one of the most thrilling chapters into the ten-year legacy of the event.
36 holes were not enough to determine a winner in the Bell National and Futures National divisions, while a roller coaster ride of an afternoon in the Prep Preview division ended in dramatic fashion in regulation at the home course of the UNC-Chapel Hill Women’s Golf team.
Two Close for Comfort in the Bell Division
In the previous evening, following the first round of play, the campus at Chapel Hill was rocking in the aftermath of UNC’s epic defeat over their neighbors down the road at Duke. Securing the season sweep of the Tobacco Road Rivalry, the campus was electric. Inside the Dean Dome, the sellout crowd’s earthshattering roars could be felt for miles down NC 54.
Fast forward less than 24 hours, around 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, and the scene transpiring on UNC Finley’s 10th Hole produced a stark contrast from that of the night prior. Spectators could hear a plastic tee drop on the gravel cart paths as the magnitude of the tiebreaker playoff resonated through ear-piercing silence. Only the shuffling of feet of those following the final group and the sound of a drivers ping of the remaining divisions finishing their round, off in the distance, could disrupt the sheer intensity of the Bell division playoff.
Two competitors, deep in their state of thought and focus, vying for the top spot on the leaderboard. Both girls aware that with each shot the stakes grow higher and the margin of error shrinks.
On the 11th green, a growing gallery of intrigued competitors and their families gathered after completing their respective rounds on the ninth green, eager to catch a glimpse of the Tour’s top talent in its grandest stage.
When all was said and done, Sydney Yermish (Pinehurst, NC 2023) outlasted former-Tar Heel Classic champion Caroline Curtis (Richmond, VA 2019) on the second playoff hole to claim the 2019 Bell division title. Yermish took a one-stroke lead into the final round after shooting a three-under-par 69 in the first round. Though she lost the lead for a short period of time, she held her composure, working back into position for the tiebreaker playoff where she claimed the first victory of her PKBGT career.
Phenomenal First Impression in the Prep Preview Division
Lexi Schulman (Vernon Hills, IL 2023) made the long journey worthwhile in claiming the 2019 Tar Heel Classic championship in the Prep Preview division. The greater-Chicago native stormed to the top of the leaderboard with a one-under-par first round of 71. Schulman experienced a few hiccups on her front nine, as Macy Pate (Boone, NC 2024) went on a run of three birdies in a row to take over as the leader. Schulman weathered the storm with a string of seven pars in a row to start her back nine, taking back the lead for good and taking home the trophy in her very first PKBGT event.
Tiebreaker Trio in the Futures National Division
While the Prep Preview awards ceremony commenced, a trio of Futures National competitors walked off the first green at UNC Finley GC, headed toward a second playoff hole. As with the Bell division, 36 holes of regulation and one playoff hole was not sufficient to determine a winner.
Elizabeth Tucci (New Market, MD 2022) outlasted Josephine Nguyen (Springfield, VA 2024) and Mary Sears Brown (Wake Forest, NC 2021) on the second playoff hole, taking home the 2019 Tar Heel Classic in the Futures National division.
Sears Brown’s approach shot sailed long on the second hole, while Nguyen landed hers on the edge of the green and Tucci’s closest to the pin. Nguyen missed a lengthy birdie attempt by a fraction of an inch, with a minute late break pushing it away from the hole. She tapped in for par. Tucci lined up and sank her birdie attempt to claim victory by one stroke.
Tucci earned a spot in the tiebreaker playoff after an eight-stroke improvement on her first round, with a Futures National best 73 (+1) in the final round. Her victory in Chapel Hill is the first of her PKBGT career.
Miss out on any of the action?! Read the full event recap article HERE!
With all of the excitement that went down this weekend in Chapel Hill, the National Order of Merit Rankings experienced quite a shake-up. Noteworthy performances across the board at UNC Finley GC made for a whirlwind of a Movement Monday!
Bell National Order of Merit
On the heels of her thrilling playoff victory at the 2019 Tar Heel Classic, Sydney Yermish catapulted 61 spots in the Bell National Order of Merit rankings. Taking home this week’s #MoverOfTheWeek honors, Yermish now sits inside the Top 30 at 26th in the OOM. There was an abundance of significant movement on the Bell National OOM including this weekend’s third-place finisher, Riley Hamilton (Reidsville, NC 2020), jumping 52 spots into 28th in the rankings. Emma Chen (Derwood, MD 2022) broke into the Top 10, moving 23 spots into 6th in the rankings after a Top 5 finish. Also placing in the Top 5 this weekend, Muskan Uppal (Cornelius, NC 2019) broke into the Top 30, moving up 47 spots into 29th in the rankings.
Other Notable Movement in the Bell National OOM Rankings:
2. Maria Atwood (Holly Springs, NC 2022): moved up 8 spots
13. Morgan Ketchum (Winston-Salem, 2022): moved up 20 spots
15. Macie Burcham (Greensboro, NC 2021): moved up 21 spots
27. Kyndall Shamblin (Cleveland, TN 2022): moved up 35 spots
30. Alyssa Cong (Germantown, MD 2020): moved up 21 spots
53. Morgan Ellison (Peachtree City, GA 2021): moved up 48 spots
T60. Kayla Smith (Burlington, NC 2019): moved up 76 spots
Prep Preview Order of Merit
Macy Pate (Boone, NC 2024) moved up two spots into third place in the Prep Preview Order of Merit after her runner-up finish at the 2019 Tar Heel Classic. Amber Mackiewicz (Virginia Beach, VA 2023) climbed three spots into fourth place, while Megan Morris (Cary, NC 2021) and McKenzie Daffin (Fayetteville, NC 2021) each jumped six spots in the rankings, to fifth and sixth place respectively.
Other Notable Movement in the Prep Preview OOM Rankings:
8. Sydney Hackett (Ashburn, VA 2022): moved up 9 spots
12. Amber Capote (Waxhaw, NC 2020): moved up 11 spots
14. Alexandra Delgado (Fairfax, VA 2021): moved up 12 spots
15. Abby Hunter (Blacksburg, VA 2021): moved up 17 spots
18. Catherine Qiu (Great Falls, VA 2024): moved up 11 spots
Futures National Order of Merit
Grace Ridenour (Cary, NC 2025) jumped one spot into second place on the Futures National Order of Merit rankings after the weekend in Chapel Hill. Moving up four spots into fourth place, Ellen Yu (High Point, NC 2026) enters the Top 5 for the first time of her PKBGT career. Abigail Cheney (Guyton, GA 2021) moved up 11 spots into 10th place, Kyleigh Harnsberger (Advance, NC 2021) jumped 15 spots into 12th place and Amelia Cho (Ashburn, VA 2024) moved 12 spots into 18th in the rankings.
Around the Tour
The National Series hits the road next weekend, traveling to Greenwood, SC for the 2019 PKBGT Spring Invitational, the inaugural invitational event featuring all three National divisions. The Links at Stoney Point, home course to the Lander University Women’s Golf team, will play host to the Tour’s first #Springvite!
The North Carolina Regional Series plays its first event of the 2019 season at Longleaf Golf and Family Club in Pinehurst, NC on Saturday, March 16. Registration for the event closes TONIGHT at 12 a.m.
Other important registration deadlines to take note of (register at the links below):
2019 PKBGT Masters at Greenville CC: 3/11 (TONIGHT at 12 a.m.)
2019 Cape Fear Classic presented by Evolve Golf at CC of Landfall: 3/11 (TONIGHT at 12 a.m.)
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/.