The tournament at Summerlea Golf and Country Club marks the 31st year the LPGA has played in Canada. The LPGA's first event here was the 1973 La Canadienne, which later became the Peter Jackson Classic and the du Maurier Classic.
The field vying for the first-place prize of $180,000 includes LPGA Tour Hall of Fame members Amy Alcott, JoAnne Carner and Beth Daniel. In addition, Weetabix Women's British Open champion Karrie Webb, Laura Diaz, Se Ri Pak, Rachel Teske, Mi Hyun Kim, Janice Moodie, Gloria Park and Cristie Kerr are looking for another 2002 Tour win, while Rosie Jones, Meg Mallon and Grace Park are looking for their first wins of the season.
The field features eight of the top 10 and 16 of the top 20 on the LPGA Tour money list.
Canadian players on the LPGA Tour participating in this week's event are Angela Buzminski, Dawn Coe-Jones, A.J. Eathorne, Gail Graham, Nancy Harvey and Lorie Kane.
This week's field includes nine top players from the Bank of Montreal Canadian Women's Tour (BMCWT). Following the tour's season-ending event two weeks ago, exemptions were awarded to the winner of each BMCWT event, plus the top players from the money list and the top amateur.
Leading off the list of exemptions is Quebec native Isabelle Beisiegel, who won on the BMCWT in May and took top honors in the Order of Merit money ranking. Other exemptions went to tournament winner Chris Greatrex of Vancouver, B.C., and top finishers in the Order of Merit Laura Witvoet, Carrie Vaughan, Shelly Stouffer, Jennifer Wyatt, and Mary Lee Cobick. Eom Ji Park of Vancouver claimed the amateur exemption.
Liz Early also earned a spot in the field by virtue of her BMCWT win earlier this year, but chose to decline her exemption as she strives to reach the top 10 on the Futures Tour.
In last year's event, Kelly Robbins, along with Jones and Pak, shared the first-round lead after each fired 7-under-par 65s. Robbins and Jones held on to share the lead after both recorded 69s in the second round, but in the third round, it was only Robbins who was able to hold onto the lead heading into the last day. Robbins, who was looking for her first win since 1999, was tied with Annika Sorenstam at 13-under-par after Sorenstam carded a third-round, tournament-low 64 (-8).
In the final round, Sorenstam got off to a quick start with a birdie on the first hole despite an 82-minute rain-delay prior to the start. The Swede ignored the soggy conditions and was able to widen her lead to seven strokes by the 14th hole.
Robbins closed to within five strokes of Sorenstam with back-to-back birdies on holes 15 and 16, and although Sorenstam faltered with bogeys on the final two holes, Robbins' birdie on the 18 fell two shots shy of overcoming Sorenstam's lead.
Sorenstam finished at 16-under-par to claim her sixth of eight tournament titles in 2001. Robbins' second-place finish was her best of the season. Canada native Kane climbed up the leaderboard with a final-round, 2-under-par 70 to finish in a tie for third place with Pak at 276 (-12).