It doesn't happen very often on the NGA Hooters Tour - two tournaments within shouting distance.
Just as the Loma Linda Classic presented by Zimmer Radio Group is winding down today in Joplin, Mo., the tour makes the 20-minute haul down Interstate 44 to Peoria Ridge Golf Course for the Buffalo Run Casino Classic.
“From a staff standpoint, to be able to break down Sunday afternoon and drive for just an hour from Bentonville (last week's stop) to here (Joplin), and then 20 minutes or so to Miami, my guys love it,” said Ryan Waters, the NGA Hooter Tour's regional tournament director. “Instead of getting in at midnight or later, we can get there and chill out for a bit before having to worry about setting up for the next day.”
Some players have stayed in Miami this past week and others reportedly will commute back and forth from Joplin for play here
“Miami is a mainstay on our schedule,” Waters said. “We have found that to have them close like this tends to benefit everybody. Interest is usually pumped in both areas.”
This will be the fifth straight year for the tournament to be held here and the fourth year it's been under the sponsorship of the Peoria Tribe of Oklahoma.
Most of the cast for the Loma Linda Classic is scheduled to play here - and there will even be a few additions.
Defending champ D.J. Fiese tentatively is scheduled to be part of the 166-man field, but he didn't play at Bentonville or Joplin.
Fiese won the 2006 title by four strokes over former Georgia State University teammate Tee McCabe to take the title.
Fiese finished at 24-under par 264. He finished up in style, shooting an 8-under 64 on the final day.
The field will include four of this season's previous winners: Brandon Brown, Rob Johnson, Nathan Smith and Michael Cornell.
This is the earliest the event has been staged. Previously, it had been a late July-early August stop on the tour.
A qualifier will be held Monday at Peoria Ridge to fill 10 slots in the tournament.
Also Monday will be the Arvest Bank Derby, involving local celebrities and area media as well as players from the Hooters Tour.
There will be a junior clinic Tuesday for children up to age 17 starting at 5 p.m.
Then on Wednesday, there will be a pair of pro-am tournaments, one in the morning and another in the afternoon.
The actual tournament runs Thursday through Sunday.