Peggy Kirk Bell Golf Tournament completed successfully at Lake Monticello

Peggy Kirk Bell Golf Tournament completed successfully at Lake Monticello

By Duncan Nixon

Once again, top young female high school golfers competed over the Lake Monticello golf course on March 19 and 20.  The Peggy Kirk Bell’s annual Commonwealth Classic brings in mostly Virginia golfers, but competitors also came from Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This year’s winner was Grace Addison who came to Lake Monticello all the way from Abingdon, in southwest Virginia. She is a class of 2023, junior. Her winning score was a very impressive four over par 148. Addison shot a 76 on Saturday which was tied for second best – an excellent score on windy day over a course that was a little soggy. On Sunday with the wind still blowing, but the course a little dryer, Addison posted a par score of 72.

Addison said that she has been playing golf since about the age of eight. Her grandparents and parents are all golfers and she explained that her major goal in golf is to be able to beat her older brother. She admitted that this has not happened yet. He must be quite a good golfer as well.

This tournament was in no way a runaway. The second-place finisher was a mere stroke behind. Keya Niak, a high school freshman from Ashburn, shot a consistent 74 and 75 for 149. Her 74 on Saturday put her at the top of the first-round leader board. In third place was high school junior Sydnee Gaines, who traveled from Middle River, MD to compete in the Commonwealth Classic. Gaines had the low round of the tournament coming in at 71 on Sunday. Combined with her 79 on Saturday, she was two strokes behind at 150. In fourth place was another freshman, Elsie MacCleery. She is from nearby Crozet.  MacCleery shot 78 and 74 for a total of 152.

The Peggy Kirk Bell tournaments, which are contested up and down the east coast, have two divisions The stronger and generally more mature players compete in the Bell Division and the younger and generally less experienced players complete in the Futures Division. A lot of the Futures competitors can also play very impressive golf. A number of them posted scores in one round or the other of under 80.

The Bell Division competitors play from blended tees. Their distance for eighteen holes is 5,800 yards. For comparison purposes, the red tees at the Like Monticello course, which could be described as the regular ladies’ tees, are set at a course length of 5,051 yards and men’s gold tees, considered the regular senior men’s tees, make the course 5,610 yards.  The course the Futures Division set at 5,193 yards. These young women can hit the ball a long way. The tournament was fortunate to have decent if windy weather, with temperatures in the high 60s the first day and high 50s the second day.

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