Host of local stars hope to shine at Hooters Tour event

Photo by Mike Phillips

Photo by Mike Phillips

ALBANY -- They'll be pouring into Albany, filling up the fairways and greens at the Stonebridge Golf and County Club all week as more 168 golfers converge on the Good Life City to play in the Michelob Ultra Classic in the Hooters Golf Tour.

And for some, it's homecoming week.

"It will be great to play at home,'' said Jason Flowers, who played at Darton and now lives in Albany. "I've been struggling the last few weeks, and hopefully playing at home will bring some well-needed confidence to my game. I hope to jump-start my season.''

Five former Darton players will compete, including Michael Gordy, Brandon Anthony, Roy Steinberg and Brent Witcher.

Josh Broadaway, an Albany native who is a regular on the Nationwide Tour, will also be playing.

Shane Folds from Cordele, will also be in the tournament, which begins Thursday and runs through Sunday.

"I can't sleep at night,'' said Steinberg, who is pumped about playing the Hooters Tour event at Stonebridge. "I'm really looking forward to this. This is going to be awesome.''

The Darton veterans have an advantage because Stonebridge is Darton's home course, where they practiced three-to- four times a week when they played for the Cavs.

"It's a great course and we were very fortunate to have a course like that to practice on. That was pretty much our home course,'' said Witcher, who was at Darton from 2004 through '06. "It definitely helps to go back to a course you're familiar with, but you still have to put the ball in the hole.''

Witcher is 25 and now lives in Atlanta, but he's looking forward to the tournament this week.

"I was at Darton for the first two national championships, so I have a lot of good memories,'' he said. "And playing (at Stonebridge) should help your confidence. You would definitely have more confidence than in another event.''

Anthony is literally coming home. He grew up in Albany, played at Deerfield-Windsor and then at Darton. Steinberg is from Israel, but calls Albany home. When he left Darton last summer he decided to stay in Albany, and is now an assistant pro at the River Pointe Golf Club.

"When I turned pro, I decided to stay in Albany and got the job at River Pointe,'' he said. "I really like Albany. It's just the people. There are a lot of good people here.''

Steinberg said he will love playing at home.

"There's going to be a bunch of people coming to watch me,'' he said. "I love it. It's what you live for. You live to compete and having people who know you watching you and (cheering for you). It's going to be fun.''

Flowers grew up in Moultrie and played for Darton's national title team in 2005. His fiancee lives in Albany so it made sense to move here, but he had some other reasons.

"I practice at Doublegate (Country Club), and that's one of the best golf courses in South Georgia," Flowers said. "Stonebridge is a great course (too). They have multiple golf courses in Albany. Albany is probably the best town in South Georgia for golf courses.''

Flowers looks at this week as a unique chance to not only play at what was his home course in college, but to be at home.

"It will be different,'' said Flowers, who has been on the Hooters Tour for three years. "You get to sleep at home instead of being in a hotel, and you're going to have a lot of family and friends there. I think there will be a few people to show up and watch me play this week. I'll probably play better with people watching me.''