Top young women compete at Lake golf course

By Duncan Nixon

Some of the top young women in the northeast came to the Lake Monticello Golf Course March 30-31 to demonstrate their golf skills and compete for trophies.

The Peggy Kirk Bell tour brings girls from age 9 to 19 to a variety of top level courses around the northeast for high-level contests throughout the year. This season the Commonwealth Classic was held at Lake Monticello.

There were two categories of play. The Bell level was for the very top players in the northeast, while the Futures level was for the aspiring players who are not quite ready for the top level of play.

The Bell level players were presented with a 5,800-yard course that required some tee box adjustments, as the regular men’s tees at the Lake Monticello course are set at just under 6,300 yards while the senior men play at 5,610 yards. The ladies tees at the Lake Monticello course are set at 5,051 yards. Accordingly, these young women were playing a longer course than the senior men play.

The top contestants in the Bell level were all shooting under 80. Very few senior men in the Gray Foxes senior league at Lake Monticello are able to record two consecutive sub 80 rounds, and many never get close to a sub 80 round.

The players in the Futures level were competing over a course of approximately 5,200 yards. A few were able to come in with scores in the high 70s but most were in the 80s and 90s.

While the wind was a factor over the weekend, the rain held off, and the young women athletes were able to play under very reasonable conditions. The competition for the Bell level trophies was intense as seven golfers finished two rounds of play between 149 and 155.

The winning score of 149 was turned in by Lydia Swan, a high school sophomore from North East, Penn. She shot 76 on Saturday and 73 on Sunday. Finishing second was Melissa Meng, a junior from Blacksburg. She was only one stroke back at 150, with rounds of 76 and 74. Third place went to Kendall Turner, a high school senior from Chesapeake. She had rounds of 75 and 79 for 154.

Four competitors finished at 155. Elizabeth Beek, a high school freshman from Blue Bell, Penn., was awarded fourth place based on having the lowest second round score. She shot 78 and 77. Fifth place was awarded to Rylie Heflin, a high school junior from Avondale, Penn., who shot 77 and 78. Sixth and seventh places went to Jennifer Cleary and Sue Lee. Cleary scored 155 with rounds of 76 and 79, while Lee, who tied for low round of the weekend with a 73 on Saturday, slipped to 82 on Sunday for her 155. Cleary is a junior from Wilmington, Del., while Lee is a freshman from Lorton, Va.

These young women are all potential college scholarship athletes, and Turner and Cleary reportedly are already signed or verbally committed to play at the next level.

Although the fairways at the Lake Monticello course still have not greened up, the greens are in excellent condition. It was noted that some of the players from north of Central Virginia have had limited opportunity to play this season on their local courses.

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