Industry assesses damage after Southeast storms

A tornado rips through Tuscaloosa, Ala., on April 27.

As the death toll topped 200 in six Southeastern states devastated from storms April 27, the golf industry took measure of the damage today.

So far, it appears to be limited to property damage and a few dings to tournament schedules.

Shoal Creek, site of the Champions Tour’s Regions Tradition next week, escaped the weather that pummeled nearby Tuscaloosa, where at least 36 have died.

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Workers clean up debris at Shoal Creek.

“We got some rain, thunder, lightning and tornado warnings in the area,” club manager Jon Davis said, “but the course is in good shape. The tents that are out there, none of them blew down. We were lucky.”

Davis said that about 20 trees were felled during the storms, though “the ones that fell were not critical.”

The Regions Tradition, on May 5-8, is the season’s first major championship on the 50-and-older tour.

Alabama women’s coach Mic Potter, whose Crimson Tide enter next week’s NCAA regional play as the No. 3-ranked team, said his team is fine but that the damage was only about a half mile from campus in Tuscaloosa.

Jonathan Romeo, the tournament director at this week’s Avnet LPGA Classic in Mobile, had to rush back to Birmingham when he got word that three trees had toppled onto his house. There were no injuries to his family, he said.

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About 20 trees were felled at Shoal Creek

In Chattanooga, Jim Horten, the sports information director for golf at the University of Chattanooga, described his city on Twitter as “a war zone,” but told Golfweek the teams are safe and there is no apparent damage to the golf facilities.

Two college men’s championships were shortened to 36 holes because of the inclement weather.

Jacksonville State, the pre-tournament favorite in the Ohio Valley Conference, won when weather made GreyStone Golf Club in Dickson, Tenn., unplayable Wednesday. The Gamecocks shot 15-under 561 to win by 18 shots against runner-up Tennessee-Martin.

In Muscle Shoals, Ala., Denver was declared the Sunbelt Conference champion after tornadoes, hail and heavy rains ripped through the state. The Pioneers, ranked No. 130, shot 3-under 573 to upset runner-up North Texas, ranked No. 38, and No. 49 Middle Tennessee, which tied for sixth.

– Beth Ann Baldry, Steve Harmon and Ryan Lavner contributed.

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