The three-day event includes 54 holes of stroke play, with the top four finishers invited to represent Georgia in the eighth annual Georgia-South Carolina Girls’ Junior Challenge, a match-play team competition between the two states that will take place in August in Seabrook Island, S.C.
The Georgia Girls’ Championship, which dates back to 1980, is open to amateur golfers between the ages of 9 and 17.
Local players competing in the event include Creekview teammates Claire Roop and Whitney Stevenson, Etowah’s Tyler Dawson and Melanie Talbott and Woodstock’s Madison Blackburn. Abigail Bolt, a 14-year-old golfer from Woodstock, will also compete.
Talbott, Roop and Bolt participated in the event last season.
Blackburn, who said she is trying to play larger tournaments this season in preparation for her senior year in high school, is looking forward to the challenge.
Atlanta Athletic Club likely will be one of the most challenging courses many of the players have seen. The course has hosted four PGA Tour majors — most recently the PGA Championship in 2011 — as well as the U.S. Women’s Open, and it will host the U.S. Amateur next summer.
“I’m very excited about playing in it,” said Blackburn, who is coached by her father, Todd. “The course is in beautiful condition. It’s an honor to be able to play there where the PGA plays.”
Blackburn said it will be a test playing 54 holes rather than the junior golf standard of 36.
“It’s an extra day more than most junior golf events are,” she said. “It will test everyone’s stamina, and in the summer, it will be hot and we have to walk.”
The field includes several of the state’s top prep golfers, including several recent state title winners. Among them are Lambert’s Lauren Lightfritz, Lakeside-Evans’ Megan Sabol and Eunice Yi, Darlington’s Hannah Mae Deems and Landmark Christian’s Jordan Daniel.
Rachel Dai, who won the titles in 2011 and 2012, will not be back to defend her title.
The first group will tee off at 8 a.m., with Bolt getting an early start on the back nine at 8:10 a.m. Dawson will tee off at 8:30, and Blackburn’s group will begin at 9 a.m.
Beginning on the front nine is Stevenson’s group at 9:20 a.m. Roop and Talbott are grouped together and will start at 9:50 a.m.