The Chattahoochee Golf Course will welcome some of the top up-and-comers in golf this week. The National Golf Association, the third highest-ranked tour of professional golf, is holding the Milton Martin Honda Classic starting Thursday and going four rounds at the par-72 course in Gainesville. After play was suspended due to weather last year, 171 golfers are going after their share of the $200,000 purse.
One of the top names in Gainesville for the event is Brandon Brown, who hasn’t missed a cut on the NGA Tour since 2011, including an appearance in the PGA’s Reno-Tahoe Open. He has won NGA’s Player of the Year honors the past two seasons, along with 10 consecutive top-four finishes to round out the 2012 season.
Players on the NGA Tour are seeking to move up in the ranks to the Web.com Tour and the highest level of professional golf, the PGA Tour.
Major champions Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson and Bubba Watson all cut their teeth on the NGA Tour, along with 2012 PGA Tour winners Scott Piercy, Ted Potter and Scott Stallings.
Previous winners on the NGA Tour at Chattahoochee include Travis Bertoni (2010) and Brown (2011). The course record at Chattahochee (63) is shared by Josh Bunch and Roberto Castro.
Chattahoochee director of golf Rodger Hogan is part of the field along with other locals, including Jim Foote (Gainesville), Ryan Chitwood (Lula) and Blake Palmer (Dawsonville).
Golfers have practice rounds scheduled for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The final round begins at 7:30 a.m. Sunday and the awards ceremony is slated to begin at 2:30 p.m. at Chattahoochee.
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: After defeating fellow Region 8-AAAAA contender Winder-Barrow on Friday, Gainesville (9-0) visits the Bulldoggs today in Winder. The Red Elephants won the first game of the season series at Ivey-Watson Field behind a complete-game outing from junior Michael Gettys, his fourth shutout of the season.
Also hot early in the season, North Hall (7-1) plays host to West Hall tonight at Jody Davis Field. The Trojans picked up a 13-1 win against the Spartans on Friday in Oakwood behind strong performances at the plate from Colton Duttweiler, Andrew Smith, Drew Coker and McCoy Savage.