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Sabbatini Set to Defend in Canada

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The PGA Tour makes its first of two straight stops north of the border for this weeks $3.4 million Air Canada Championship at the Northview Country Club in Surrey, B.C.
 
Last year, South African Rory Sabbatini drained a 25-foot birdie putt at No. 17, and then nailed a 30-footer on the 72nd hole to better New Zealands Grant Waite by a shot.
 
The victory qualified the 25-year-old for this years season-opening Mercedes Championships, and Sabbatini made the most of his appearance.
 
The former University of Arizona player battled fellow Wildcat Jim Furyk for the title.
 
After holing a wedge approach shot for eagle on Saturday, Sabbatini took a four-shot lead into the final round.
 
However, Furyk holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole, while Sabbatini missed a three-footer to force a playoff.
 
Sabbatinis triumph in Canada a year ago marked the fourth time it the tournaments five-year history that a first-time tour winner walked away with the trophy.
 
Native son Mike Weir won in 1999. Brandel Chamblee was victorious in 1998, and Buy Boros won in 96. The only player to have won prior to his Air Canada championship was Mark Calcavecchia in 1997.
 
This years winner will collect $612,000.
 
Many of the games biggest names will be taking the week off following a pair of trying weeks at the PGA Championship and WGC-NEC Invitational. But Bryce Molder and Charles Howell III ' both seeking win No. 1 ' are in attendance.
 
Molder, making his professional debut in last weeks Reno-Tahoe Open, finished in third place ' one shot clear of Howell.
 
The tour will next travel to Montreal for the Bell Canadian Open, where Tiger Woods will defend his title.