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Fayetteville Hotels Fill Up Fast as U.S. Open Approaches

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FAYETTEVILLE — Thousands of golf fans are getting ready to take over North Carolina. Tickets to the1999 U.S. Openare nearly impossible to come by, and hotels are filling up fast.

Anyone who lives nearPinehurstand has tickets may find a day trip is the best bet. Hotel rooms in Pinehurst were sold out months ago, and in nearbyFayetteville, they are few and far between.

The Wingate Inn just opened last August, but even before the hotel was ready, it was taking reservations for the U.S. Open and was booked solid by November.

"We're doing a lot of big company business out of Los Angeles, New York and Chicago," said hotel general manager Dan Roberts.

Fayetteville is scoring from the U.S. Open because it is the closest big city to Pinehurst. Staying at a hotel an hour away from the tournament is par for the course.

"A golf fan will pay anything and go anywhere to see a major, especially the U.S. Open," Roberts said.

Many hotels are trying to make the drive easier for guests by providing maps to the village.

Fayetteville's 5,000 hotel rooms are usually about 60 percent full this time of year. Even at premium rates, many hotels have no vacancies for the big golf weekend.

There are some rooms around Interstate 95, but those are expected to go fast.

"I-95 is sitting about 60 to 70 percent full, and their normal walk-in traffic is 60 to 70 percent of their business, so they are going to be walking people to Lumberton and other places Wednesday through Saturday of next week," said Doug Traub with the Fayetteville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Even with thousands of visitors staying in Cumberland County, officials do not expect any huge traffic problems. Unlike other major events, where people all try to get there at the same time, fans will be driving to and from Pinehurst all day long.

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Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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