Kirk seeking third straight Carolinas Women’s Am title at Reserve Club

Katie Kirk of Greenville, N.C., holds the trophies from the past two Carolinas Women’s Amateur Championships.
Katie Kirk of Greenville, N.C., holds the trophies from the past two Carolinas Women’s Amateur Championships. Submitted photos

Katie Kirk of Greenville, N.C., is trying to become the sixth woman to win three consecutive Carolinas Women’s Amateur Championship titles this week in the 90th Carolinas Women’s Amateur at The Reserve Club in Pawleys Island.

Kirk won last year by two strokes at Treyburn Country Club, and in 2014 she won by one stroke at Wachesaw Plantation Club over both Bailey Cocca of Myrtle Beach and Tiffany Robbins of Fort Mill.

Cocca recently completed her senior year at Coastal Carolina and is among 85 players entered in the 54-hole event being played Monday through Wednesday.

Kirk was the recipient of the 2015 Dinah Shore Trophy Award while at East Carolina University, which recognizes excelling in academics, athletics, leadership and community service. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree, and said she has played in just one event since the U.S. Women’s Amateur last August.

“I've really missed the competition, so more than anything I'm just ready to play in a tournament again,” Kirk said in a Carolinas Golf Association release. “I'm going into this event with no expectations, but I definitely have my eye on a third win.”

Kirk said she has been battling hip issues that might include a labrum tear in one or both hips and have limited her ability to play and practice.

Others who figure to contend for the title include Ashley Sloup, 20, of Southport, N.C., a rising junior at Winthrop University; Mallory Hetzel, 29, of Waynesville, N.C., who won back-to-back Carolinas Women’s Match Play titles; Lea Anne Brown, 59, of Mount Pleasant, the two-time reigning Women’s S.C. Golf Association Player of the Year; reigning N.C. Women’s Senior champion Kim Briele, 55, of New Bern, N.C.; and Patty Moore, 66, of Charlotte and Lea Venable, 42 of Simpsonville, who each have multiple CGA titles.

Others entered from the Grand Strand include Pendleton Bogache, Suzanne Moro and Karen Zeip of Myrtle Beach, Kathy Judge and Ellen Miller of Pawleys Island, Kelli Smith and Barbara Sobolewski of Murrells Inlet, Sara Murphy of Georgetown, Anne Washington of Conway and Marjorie Rogers of Surfside Beach.

Tee times are from 8-10 a.m. for Tuesday’s second round and there is a 9 a.m. shotgun start for Wednesday’s final round. The championship division will play the Greg Norman-designed course at about 6,200 yards and the tournament is open to spectators.

Alan Blondin: 843-626-0284, @alanblondin