Repeating as champion of the Buffalo Run Casino Classic has been downright tough.
Just ask Chris James, D.J. Fiese, Patrick Dempsey and Jeff Corr.
All have attempted to defend their title at Miami’s stop on the NGA Hooters Professional Golf Tour at Peoria Ridge Golf Course — and have failed.
Ted Potter, who won last year’s tournament in a four-hole playoff with Martin Flores, may not be back to defend his crown.
He told the News-Record Friday in a text message that he was planning on playing in Monday’s qualifier for the Fort Smith (Ark.) Classic, a stop on the Nationwide Tour.
He has conditional status on the Nationwide following placement at PGA qualifying school in December.
Potter is 131st in earnings on the Nationwide Tour despite playing in just two events.
u James, the winner in 2005, finished fifth in 2006.
u Fiese, the winner in 2006, wound up in a tie for 10th in 2007.
u Dempsey, who earned the title in 2007, shared fourth in 2008.
u Corr, who won the tournament in 2008 with a record-setting 30-under score, fell to 38th last year.
Joseph Alfieri II, the winner of The Stables Classic as the tournament was known in 2003, and 2004 winner Will MacKenzie did not opt to make an attempt to defend their titles.
Thirteen of the season’s top 20 money winners — including No. 1 Mark Blakefield — are in the field for this year’s tournament.
Blakefield is the season’s only double winner, taking first at the Ocala Marion Sports Commission Classic and the 2010 ADI Classic.
Will Wilcox, who is No. 2 in earnings, originally was entered here but following today’s final round at the Bentonville (Ark.) Open, he will head south on U.S. 71 instead of turning north to make the drive to Miami.
He earned the NGA Hooters Tour’s exemption for this week’s Fort Smith Classic.
John Daly, who played on the Hooters Tour in 1989, heads up the field at Fort Smith.
Others entered are No. 4 Matthew Harmon, No. 7 Travis Bertoni, No. 10 Patrick Nagle, No. 11 Matthew Anderson, No. 13 David Skinns, No. 14 Jeff Corr, No. 15 Nick Rousey, No. 16 Philip Pettitt Jr., No. 17 Todd Bailey, No. 18 Yohann Benson and No. 19 Kyle Ellis.
Harmon and Bertoni have posted wins earlier this season.
The lead sponsor of the tournament is the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, which owns both Peoria Ridge and the Buffalo Run Casino.
Because of the number of entries, there will not be a qualifying tournament on Monday.
Monday’s schedule will include a scramble that will benefit The Harbor, this year’s tournament charity.
The Arvest Bank Horse Race will be at 5 p.m. Monday.
Additional events include the Welch State Bank junior clinic at 5 p.m. Tuesday and morning and afternoon pro-ams on Wednesday.
An NGA long drive contest will be held at noon Wednesday.
The first round of the tournament tees off at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.
Following Friday’s round, the top 70 players and ties will advance to the final two rounds.
The purse for the Buffalo Run Casino Classic is $200,000 with $30,000 going to the winner.
2 p.m. — The Harbor Charity Scramble
5 p.m. — Arvest Bank Horse Race (Top 9 plus Local)
8 a.m. — NGA Tour practice rounds
5 p.m. — Welch State Bank Junior Clinic
7 p.m. — Buffalo Run Casino pro-am players welcoming party
8 p.m. — Buffalo Run Casino players poker tournament
7 a.m. — Morning NGA pro-am registration
8 a.m. — Morning NGA pro-am
Noon — NGA Long Drive
12:30 p.m. — Afternoon NGA pro-am registration
1:30 p.m. — Afternoon NGA pro-am
7 p.m. — Buffalo Run Casino NGA pro-am awards dinner
7:30 a.m. — First round, Buffalo Run Casino Classic
7:30 a.m. — Second round, Buffalo Run Casino Classic
7:30 a.m. — Third round, Buffalo Run Casino Classic
7:30 a.m. — Final round, Buffalo Run Casino Classic
2:30 p.m. — Awards ceremony