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John Reitman

By John Reitman

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Flooding stalls tournament prep at NC course

37f4e93ea1ea6db85fad9a0c0a9e05b3-.jpgA severe storm in late July caused enough damage to the Robert Trent Jones Jr. Course at Rock Barn Golf and Spa in Conover, N.C., that the course was closed temporarily. Rock Barn is scheduled to host the Champions Tour's Greater Hickory Kia Classic in October.


The course received 9 inches of rain in 2.5 hours on July 27 and was left with severe flooding and damage throughout. The course was closed until Aug. 17, when it reopened as a 16-hole layout until the repairs are completed on two holes, according to a statement on the club's Facebook page.


Two greens the 210-yard, par-3 third and the 405-yard, par-4 fifth suffered significant damage and will have to be rebuilt. Greens and fairways at Nos. 4, 13, 14, 16 and 17 along with the fairway at No. 5 had up to 3 feet water and silt in some areas, according to a letter the Champions Tour sent to players. The Tour's agronomist Jeff Haley has been to Rock Barn to access the damage.


Also, 22 bunkers throughout the course will need to be rebuilt. A bridge from the 13th green to the 14th tee needs repairs, as does a roadway bridge through the housing development.  


Plans are still on for the Champions Tour stop, scheduled for Oct. 18-20. (The NGA Tour's Terry Moore Ford Open, scheduled for Aug. 1-4 at the course, was canceled immediately.)


This is not the first time flooding has hit a Champions Tour venue. In September 2011, En-Joie Golf Club in Endicott, N.Y., home to the Dick's Sporting Goods Open, was covered in 5 feet of water from the effects of a tropical storm and overflowing of the Susquehanna River that runs along the perimeter of the course. Because of the flooding and to allow the course to recover, the tour moved the 2012 event from June to August. In 2006, the course also flooded, forcing the final B.C. Open on the PGA Tour to move 2 hours north to Turning Stone Resort in Verona.

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