Miami News-Record

Chris Wilson will have an interesting two weeks leading up to the Buffalo Run Casino Classic.

Wilson, who is one of 96 players who are already committed to Miami’s stop on the NGA Hooters Tour, will make his PGA Tour debut this week in the Memorial Tournament at Dublin, Ohio.

Wilson received one of the six unrestricted qualifying exemptions the tournament committee allocates for the limited field of 120.

“Every year the (Captains Club’s) exemption committee likes to consider any player with local ties,” tournament director Dan Sullivan said in a press release “Chris wrote a very personal and heartfelt request, as a kid who grew up in Dublin, played at the Country Club (at Muirfield Village), had a good amateur career and is working his way through the ranks as a professional. The exemption committee looked at that relative to other requests and said, ‘Hey, this kid has a nice story. Let’s give him a shot.’”

Wilson, 24, finished 12th on the NGA Hooters Tours’ Bridgestone Winter Series money list and a victory at the series ending Tour Championship.

“My most vivid memory of the Memorial growing up was seeing Paul Azinger hole his bunker shot at No. 18 to win in 1993” Wilson wrote in his letter.

“For an 8-year-old kid, it sticks pretty clearly in your head,” he said. “That’s kind of what got the thing rolling for me as far as wanting to play in the tournament. To watch Azinger hole out that bunker shot to beat Payne Stewart was pretty captivating.”

Wilson will have several familiar faces in the gallery next week amongst them will be friend and fellow NGA Hooters Tour professional Travis Hampshire, who will be caddying for his good friend.

 “It’s exciting, like a homecoming for me. Plus I get to make Travis wear the white caddy jumpsuit” Wilson joked “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Hampshire also is one of the early entries for the Buffalo Run Casino Classic.

The tour is in Georgetown, Ky., this weekend for the ADI Classic then travels to Tunica, Miss., for the Gold Strike Casino Classic.

The Buffalo Run Casino Classic presented by the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma runs June 18-21 at Peoria Ridge.

Defending champ Jeff Corr and tour money leader Ted Potter heads up the list of entrants for the BRCC.

Potters’ earnings have reached $67,034 with a fourth-place finish at last week’s NGA Hooters Tour Classic at Quail Crossing Presented by Comfort Inn East in Boonville, Ind.

Corr, who had a tournament record 30-under par score to take top honors here last year, is 12 on the money list.

Others in the top 20 who have already entered are Oscar Olivares, who is tied for seventh; Scott Stallings, ninth; Kelly Grunewald, 10th; Ben Briscoe, 11th; Michael Lavery, 13th; Russell Knox, 15th; Todd Bailey, 16th, and David Skinns, 20th.

Volunteers are still being sought by tournament coordinator Annette Black.

Volunteers are needed to assist with scoring, as starters, on-course spotters, at the practice range, shuttling pros between designated holes and making sure there is a sufficient supply of water throughout the course for the players.

Copies of the descriptions of the various volunteer positions and sign-up sheets are available at Peoria Ridge.

For more information, contact Black at 540-2535, ext. 15 or at ablack2@peoriatribe.com.

Jim Ellis, 542-5533, ext. 3052

jim.ellis@miaminewsrecord.com