Milton Martin Honda Classic
When: 7:30 a.m. Thursday-Sunday
Where: Chattahoochee Golf Club
The NGA Pro Golf Tour hopes a three-month shift will allow for 72 holes at the Milton Martin Honda Classic.
The annual tournament, which usually plays in mid to late March at Chattahoochee Golf Club, has been stopped short the past two years due to inclement weather. This year’s installment begins at 7:30 a.m. today and runs through Sunday.
“We wanted to play the golf course when it wasn’t dormant,” tournament director Todd Barbee said. “With the golf course being dormant in March, it didn’t hold water very well.”
This weekend’s forecast calls for a 30 percent chance of rain Friday-Sunday, but Barbee says course conditions in June should keep the course playable through 72 holes.
“We know we’re going to get some rain in June,” he said, “but with the golf course being grown out, if it does rain the golf course will still be in good shape and we can get all four rounds complete.”
Last year’s champion, Daniel McCarthy of Syracuse, N.Y., was named champion through 36 holes after consistent rains washed out the final two rounds.
The entire tournament was canceled the previous year in 2012, also due to rain.
McCarthy will not return to defend this season after making the jump to the PGA Tour Canada this season, but 2011 champion Brandon Brown will complete for his second win on the course.
Lula native and Habersham High graduate Ryan Chitwood is playing, as well as Georgia Tech golfers Jason Hak and James White Jr.
Jim Foote, president of Milton Martin Honda, is the lone amateur in the field, which is smaller than in previous years.
“It’s just a tough year for developmental golf,” Barbee said. “Numbers are down across the board.”
The event purse has yet to be determined, according to Barbee. In previous years, the tour has paid back 95 percent of entry fees.
McCarthy won $28,000 for winning last season.
The NGA Pro Golf Tour, formerly known as the NGA Hooters Pro Golf Tour, was founded in 1988 and is one of the nation’s top developmental professional golf organizations. Former tour players include two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley and two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen. Tour alumni have won 14 total majors at the PGA level.