Former Vols comfortable, ready to attack River Islands

KODAK, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The NGA/Hooters Tour has invaded Kodak's River Islands Golf Club.

For four golfers in the field, the tour stop means teeing it up just a few minutes from whey they played their college golf.

Phillip Pettitt, Jr, David Skinns, Cameron Lawrence, and Brandon Holmes all played at the University of Tennessee.

"It definitely feels like a home game," Skinns, who played at UT from 2001-2005, told WVLT Wednesday evening.

"Coach brought us out here probably four or five times a year when I was on the team. It's gotten better since then. It's in great shape right now."

Pettitt, a Murfreesboro native who now makes his home in Knoxville, isn't as familiar with the course as Skinns, but says he was ecstatic when he learned the tour would make a stop in East Tennessee.

"Anytime you can sleep in your own bed, eat at home and not travel, it's great," Pettitt said.

"I was excited (when I saw the schedule come out.) There hasn't been a tournament in Tennessee in three years, so I was ecstatic to see one this close to home."

The proximity to Knoxville gives these former Vols comfort this week. The fact that they all once wore the orange, provides that feeling the other 19 weeks on tour.

"For as much golf as there is, there's a lot of down time, so you have to have a good close group of friends. It's like a family out here," Pettitt said.

Skinns echoed the same thoughts.

"You spend a lot of time together on the road and you definitely get to know people when you are rooming with them. I spend a lot of time with these boys and they're great to be around. It's nice to have people that you've got that in common with. We just have a great group of guys, and you need that, otherwise it would get really lonely out here."

Pettitt won his second career NGA/Hooters Tour event earlier this month.

The River Islands Golf Club Classic tees off Thursday morning at 7:30 am. Admission is free.

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