Peggy Kirk Bell tournament offers close finish

By Duncan Nixon

It was a chilly weekend on March 18 and 19, but the young women in the Peggy Kirk Bell Commonwealth Classic, Bell National Division, bundled up appropriately. However, it is hard to score low in golf when playing all bundled up. Only one sub-par round was turned in by the young women competing. On Saturday when it was especially windy, in addition to being chilly, Vicenza Papa of Foster, Rhode Island shot an extremely impressive two under par 70 to take the first-round lead. In second place, on Saturday was Macie Rasmussen of Chesapeake, VA, who finished with a very credible 73. 

On Sunday, with a little less wind, Rasmussen came in at an even par 72, which was good enough for the win. Her score was a one over par 145. Papa slipped a little on Sunday posting a 76 to lose by a stroke. Rasmussen and Papa are very promising and quite young. Rasmussen is listed on the tee sheets as a class of 2027 player, while Papa is listed as class of 2026. These young women are eighth and ninth graders.

Third place in the Bell National Division of the tournament which consists of elite players who are consistently under 80 playing from the women’s red tees on multiple courses was Anne-Lea Lavoie who came all the way from Quebec City, Canada to compete. She posted a six over par 150. Lavoie is a senior in high school. Tied for fourth place were Rhianna Gooneratne and Macy Johnson who came to Lake Monticello from Plymouth Meeting, PA and Salem, VA respectively. They both shot 74 and 77. Gooneratne is a sophomore, while Johnson is a senior.

In addition to the Bell National Division, the Commonwealth Classic also has a Futures National Division which consists of talented young women who are not quite yet qualified to play in the Bell National Division. Young women who play in this division may also come from quite far away to compete, as is evidenced by the fact that the winner in this division was Mia Poirer of Victoriaville, Canada. Second place went to Sydney Dihn of nearby Fairfax, VA. They shot 160 and 163 respectively. These young women are a sophomore and an eighth grader. Maybe the somewhat cold weather resulted in two competitors from Canada finishing well in their respective divisions. It is interesting to note that the PKB tour has deviated from standard practice which divides players by age, instead dividing players by demonstrated scoring ability. 

The talent that these young women display is truly amazing. For instance, on number 14, known as the “sledding hill” hole, most players in both divisions hit the ball so far off the tee that the substantial hill in the middle of the fairway is irrelevant. Their drives carry the hill completely, leaving them with a second shot of 100 yards or less. That does not mean that birdies are numerous though because the green is tricky even for players very familiar with the course.

As has been the case in the past, PKB officials (Ellen Lavoie, director of this year’s event, and Mike Basirico, manager this year) expressed their pleasure with the way they were treated by the Lake golf community. They thanked Mark Marshall, the Lake’s PGA pro, Shirley Stewart, this year’s volunteer organizer, and all the Lake residents who volunteered as spotters and transport golf cart drivers.

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