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Ladies enjoy links at Selma Country Club

Tradition.

It is a staple of the Old South from what we eat to the sports we play.

Sometimes, traditions change. For the past six years the Selma Country Club and the Bud Burns Dixie Junior Invitational have had a new element to their tournament.

Since 2004, girls have been allowed to play in the invitational that is now in its 49th year.

“Girls golf has become bigger and bigger,” said Tommy Burns, the golf pro at Selma County Club. “And we wanted to change with the times.”

Eleven girls and 89 boys signed up for this year’s tournament, which in the past has featured professional players like Boo Weekly and Gary Player.

Burns said he believed the girl’s side would continue to expand as the popularity increases.

“It may take a while for it to really grow,” said Burns. “And it may never be as big as the boys side, but I think we will continue to see growth.

Langley Bell Vannoy, who came to from Pensacola to participate, finished the first day of play with a 4-over, 75 for the overall lead after the girl’s first round.

“We heard about it from the boy’s standpoint in the past,” Vannoy. “They really liked it so we wanted to try it out.”

Jillian Stewart, one of the girl’s participants from Selma said she enjoyed playing on her home course with other girls.

“We had a lot of fun talking and getting to know each other,” said Stewart. “It’s fun knowing the course and having others ask about what the next whole is going to do.”

Burns said he hopes to see the tradition live on across generations through the girls as it does in the boy’s side.

“Most of these boys are second generation,” said Burns. “They come to play the tournament where their dads played. Maybe, down the road, we can have mothers that played bringing their daughters.”

After all, that is how tradition is built.