SOUTHERN PINES, NORTH CAROLINA | It started in 1991 with the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club, a terrific event at a Donald Ross gem cut out of the sandhills and pine forests between downtown Southern Pines and the village of Pinehurst. The Senior Women’s Amateur was the second USGA championship held at the family-owned club. Brandie Burton had won the U.S. Girls’ Junior there two years earlier. As with all USGA championships, officers and committee people were on site for both.
During that Senior Women’s Amateur, Judy Bell, who would later serve two years as USGA president, was standing outside the back patio near the rocking chairs at Pine Needles when she heard a familiar voice. “Hey, sis,” said Peggy Kirk Bell, the legendary player and owner of the course, as well as one across the street, Mid Pines, another Donald Ross masterpiece. The two women who shared a surname often joked that they were sisters, even though they weren’t related.
“We’ve had the young girls and some old broads,” said Peggy...
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