HOOTERS TOUR NOTEBOOK: Streb's 365-yard blast wows crowd at Longest Drive Contest at Stonebridge

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- Nothing seemed to get to Robert Streb on Wednesday -- not the nickname, not the music and definitely not the course.

Streb ignored all the noise and won the Albany Convention Center and Visitor's Bureau Longest Drive competition Wednesday as the Hooters Tour Michelob Ultra Classic golf tournament kicked off at Stonebridge Golf and Country Club.

The announcer kept calling Streb, an Oklahoma native, "the Pokie from Okie,'' but Streb didn't seem to mind.

"No, I've never been called that before,'' Streb said. "They just come up with nicknames.''

He didn't even mind the music that was blasting from speakers near the tee as the golfers tried to concentrate on their drives. It's the only time they tee off in anything but silence.

"When I first starting playing in these (longest drive competitions) it got to me,'' Streb said of the music. "But not any more. I guess they're just trying to get something to distract you.''

Streb won the contest with a drive of 365 yards, which came on his third and final blast of the day.

"I'm not complaining,'' said Streb, who won one other longest drive event last year in his rookie season on the Hooters Tour. "I usually do well only when the fairways are dry. I don't usually carry it that far.''

Hooters Tour Tournament Director Frank Monk said he was glad Streb, who won $250 for his drive, and his fellow pros got a chance to show off and wow the crowd.

"Robert's got a good build and a good swing and I think the crowd really enjoyed it," he said. "The whole thing was put on by the Albany Convention Center and Visitor's Bureau, and they were a big reason the Hooter's Tour was able to come back to Albany for the first time since 2006, so we can't thank them enough for an exciting day."

Later, an amateur long-drive contest was held, and local golfer Mark Aultman won that.

His reward?

"He won his height in Bud light," Monk said.



Shortly after the pro-am tournament ended Wednesday -- an event won by Ken Brooks, Keith Brooks, Todd Kegler and their pro, Jarrett Hamilton when the quartet shot a staggering 20-under par -- the Hooters Tour held a "Million Dollar Shot Contest," in which one lucky golfer got a chance to line up in the middle of the fairway on the Par 4, 18th hole and try to drop it in the cup.

And Lester Tomlinson darn near came close.

Tomlinson, T.J. White, Greg Perry and Bob Clements won the chance to compete in a putt-off after they emerged from a field of 80 amateurs in a preliminary closest-to-the-pin contest. Of those four, whoever left their ball closest to the hole in a 70-foot putt-off, won the opportunity to take the million-dollar shot, which was sponsored by Chuck Roberts from Albany's John Ross Jewelers. Tomlinson's putt nearly went in before lipping out, earning him the chance to take the potentially life-changing swing.

"This is something new for us," Monk said of the million-dollar shot event. "Chuck Roberts came to us and said, 'I'll stake the million -- now let's make this event even more interesting and spice it up a bit.'"

Tomlinson had a big crowd around him as he teed off from the 18th fairway, and Monk said the shot "went right at the flag stick, looked like it may have (caught the cloth of the flag) and settled some four feet behind the hole."

"It had a real chance," Monk added. "That was some exciting stuff. We had about half the field (for today's tournament) who hung around to see if he would make it or not."

During the tournament all week, Ford Town of Albany will award a new Mustang to any pro who can ace the Par 3, No. 16.