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Pinehurst Shops Shoot for the Green

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PINEHURST — Fans are invading thevillage of Pinehurst. TheU.S. Opentees off Thursday morning, but fans are already buying anything with a logo on it.

There were so many people shopping Tuesday that Pinehurst had to stop people from going into the 27,000 square footMerchandise Pavilionbecause there were too many people inside.

Businesses in Pinehurst are also counting the ways they will profit from the tournament.

"We probably do, on an average, every day between 200 and 300 people, and we figure it is going to triple, and we are excited about it," said restaurant owner Carol Horne.

All of the business means one of the biggest pay days the area has ever seen.

"We estimate that the direct impact for the week of the Open will be between $160 million and $180 million," said Caleb Miles with the Moore County Visitors Bureau. "That is money visitors are spending throughout the region, including here in the village of Pinehurst, but also Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Fayetteville."

Even in the U.S. Open practice rounds, the shoppers worked on putting some serious divots into their wallets.

"I didn't want to pack for this trip, so my husband said it was OK if I just got on the plane and looked for some things when I got here," said shopper Mary Hambric.

Since the U.S. Open is such a pleasure to watch, business leaders think it will be a great place to reel in future customers.

"It's much, much easier to get people to talk to you, and be able to get in front of them to tell your story, than it would have been without this," said business recruiter Charles Hayes. "I mean this is the U.S. Open."

Corporations plan to woo their clients in hospitality tents that have formed a mini-village near the course. There are 48 tents, and each company spends a minimum of $120,000 for one of them.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
Lynn French, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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