46th Joanne Winter Arizona Silver Belle Championship at Talking Stick Golf Club to Host Top Female Amatuers
Scottsdale, Ariz. –The 46th Joanne Winter Arizona Silver Belle Championship presented by the AB Farrington Foundation is set for December 28 – 30 at Talking Stick Golf Club. The tournament features players aged 13-23 from across the United States and Canada and includes players from Singapore and Hong Kong. U.S. players will be traveling from 15 different states and as far as Hawaii and North Carolina to compete. Almost 200 entries were received before selections were made for the final field of 96.The 54-hole stroke play tournament will begin each morning at 9 a.m. Competitors will play the South course which boasts a traditional layout with tree-lined fairways, water hazards and smaller, sloped greens at approximately 6250 yards.
2015 Champion Kenzie Wright, 19, of McKinney, Texas returns to defend her title in her second year playing in the Championship. Wright’s come-from-behind final round of 67 in 2015 clinched the championship for her. Wright is a freshman at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Since her win last December, Wright competed at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship and was named to the AJGA Rolex Junior All-American team.
Seven of last year’s top 10 finishers are returning in 2016. Jiyoon Jang, 18, runner up to Kenzie Wright last year, is from Rancho Mirage, California. Jang was named one of Golfweek’s top freshmen for women’s golf in 2016/2017. She is currently attending the University of California Berkeley.
Returning for her sixth year to win the elusive Champion’s Kachina, is Haley Moore of Escondido, CA. Moore, who completed high school a year and a half early to play golf at the University of Arizona, finished 9th at the PAC 12 Championship and tied for 2nd place at the NCAA Championships - all at the age of 17. She also competed in the US Girls’ Junior Championship.
In addition to Moore, Megan Kim of Redondo Beach, CA, a junior at University of Michigan, Alice Jeong of Gardena, CA, a junior at University of California Berkeley and Alana Uriell of Carlsbad, CA a junior at the University of Arkansas are returning to compete in their sixth Silver Belle Championship.
Sabrina Iqbal, 15, of San Jose, California, returns for her third Silver Belle. She tied for 9th place overall last year with Karah Sanford, 14, who will also be competing again this year. Karah competed in the 2016 US Women’s Open and made the cut at the LPGA North Texas Shootout.
Arizona high school golfers include Emily Mahar, Ashley Menne, and Alisa Snyder of Xavier College Prep, and Kelly Su of Scottsdale Chaparral High School.
The youngest player in the field this year is Melena Barrientos of Plano, Texas, who is 13 years and seven months. An eighth grader at Legacy Christian Academy in Frisco, Melena is playing in the Silver Belle for the first time. There are six US players who are ranked in the top 100 of the World Amateur Golf Rankings –Alyaa Abdulghany, Gabby Barker, Jennifer Kupcho, Haley Moore, Krystal Quihuis, and Alana Uriell.
Gabby Barker of Caldwell, Idaho is mixing business with pleasure. Gabby’s sister, Tyler, works at Talking Stick Golf Club so the sisters will be able to spend time together during the Championship.
Established in 1971 by founder Joanne Winter, the Silver Belle was created at a time when there were few opportunities for young women players to compete in tournaments. Joanne’s vision was to give girls the chance to experience the thrill and excitement of participating in a tournament. In the inaugural year, there were only 23 players. The tournament has grown from a local tournament to one of the premier internationally recognized amateur events. The results from the championship will earn the players’ points toward their World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Many past participants and champions have continued their golf careers by playing on the LPGA or the Legends Tour. These players include: Paula Creamer, Pat Hurst, Cheyenne Woods, Mary Bea Porter-King (1973 Champion), Jenny Lidback (1981 Champion), Danielle Ammaccapane (1984 Champion), Emilee Klein (1991 champion), Yani Tseng (2005 Champion) and Angel Yin (2011 Champion).