Each year, Milton Hale and his staff at Peoria Ridge Golf Course try to throw a curve ball at NGA Hooters Tour players competing in the Buffalo Run Casino Classic.
This year, they don't really have to do much.
A much wetter-than-usual spring took care of that.
“Really, it's Mother Nature more than anything,” Hale said. “We've been fighting the weather and the wet conditions. That's dictated what we did this year, which is basically survive.”
Persistent rain - Hale counted seven different showers on Monday - had plenty of puddles and soggy spots on the course for the first two days.
But temperatures are expected to move into the 90s for the weekend, creating a July-like feeling with the humidity.
This marks the fifth different time the tournament has been played. It has previously been held in mid to late July or early August - which has meant lots of hot, dry days.
D.J. Fiese of Smyrna, Ga., won the tournament last year with a 24-under 263.
“It's soft and there's not as much rough,” Fiese said. “With all the moisture, I am sure it's been hard to get the course in the shape they wanted it. The greens are really good. I would expect that they would quicken them up.
“I think they scores will be a little higher this year just because of how soft it is. The course is playing a little longer, which makes it play a little easier.”
“We are doing the same thing to the greens that we've done in the past - mow them at a low height and roll them twice a day,” Hale said “If it rains or doesn't rain, that will make a difference. They will be fast if it will dry any at all.”
A pair of pro-am tournaments were on the schedule for today and the tournament itself gets under way Thursday morning with 56 threesomes going off from the No. 1 and No. 10 tees starting at 7:30 a.m.
The Buffalo Run Casino Classic may have the glossiest field thus far on the NGA Hooters Tour season.
Fiese and 2005 winner Chris James are in the field, as well as five previous winners on the 2007 season - Blaine Peffley, Brandon Brown, Rob Johnson, Nathan Smith and Michael Connell.
Fiese tees off at 12:48 p.m. from the No.1 tee while James has a 1:06 p.m. tee time, also from No. 1.
Peffley won last week's inaugural Loma Linda Classic at Joplin. He will tee off at 7:39 a.m. from No. 10.