Peggy Kirk Bell Commonwealth Classic tournament returns to Lake

By Duncan Nixon

It was a gorgeous weekend for Central Virginia in mid-March, with pleasant temperatures and just a slight wind on Sunday to add a small complication. A total of 68 highly talented young women from all over the East Coast teed off on March 16 and 17 in the Peggy Kirk Bell Commonwealth Classic golf tournament played on the Lake Monticello golf course. Many of the competitors are hoping to attract enough attention to be able to play golf at the Division 1 university level.

These young women can really play. There are two divisions of play. The Bell Division is the generally older and more accomplished players. The Futures Division is the generally younger `and somewhat less accomplished players. The Bell Division tournament winner was High School junior Joelle Johnson, who is from Bowie, Maryland, and attends  Indian Creek High School. She shot a very impressive 73 and 71 for an even par 144. She shot this score on a blended course of tee boxes over a distance of 5,800 yards, which is 570 yards longer than the regular women’s red tees and 190 yards longer than the men’s gold senior tees. A par score over this challenging course is no mean feat. Johnson said that she has been playing since she was about 4-years-old and has been playing in tournaments for about four years.

In second place, was another high school junior, Madison Rizzo from Leesburg. She followed up a 76 on Saturday with the tournaments’ low round of 70 on Sunday. Her score on Sunday was helped by a nearly unheard-of Albatross, which is a two on a par five hole. She said that she hit her drive on hole number five to 190 yards out and then hit her number four hybrid, and “it just went in.”

The third and fourth place finishers in the tournament establish that players come from around the East Coast. Arabella Lopez from Ridgefield, CN and Maria Isabella Errichetto from Southern Pines, NC both shot 149. Lopez had 73, 76, while Errichetto followed up a low first round score of 71 with a 78 on Sunday. Amazingly, these two are both freshman, due to graduate in 2027.

Peggy Kirk Bell officials again expressed their appreciation for the work of Lake Monticello volunteers, who assisted in making the tournament a success.

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