Canadian Tour Set for Montreal Open

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Canadian Tour-LargeMONTREAL, Que. -- The Canadian Tour kicks into this stretch drive this week as the Casino de Montreal Open for the Players Championship is contested in La Belle Province.

A world-class starting field representing more than ten countries will compete for the season-high $200,000 purse at Quatre Domaines Golf Club in suburban Montreal. The event also begins a three-tournament run to the end of the 2006 campaign and preludes a pair of Ontario stops in Niagara Falls and Barrie.

With 18 of the top 20 money leaders slated to play this week, there is plenty on the line as the field chases the $32,000 winners check. At seasons end, the top six receive an exemption into the Canadian Open while the Rolex Player of the Year and the runner-up each get a free pass into the second stage of PGA TOUR Qualifying School.

Rob Oppenheim continues to set the pace on the Rolex money list, followed by Stephen Gangluff, Lee Williamson, Brian Guetz and Josh Habig. Two weeks ago in Winnipeg, Habig captured his first Canadian Tour crown at the MTS Classic.

Darren Griff of Nanaimo, BC is the top Canadian on the money list, beginning the week in sixth spot. Calgarian Wes Heffernan is currently 13th.

The Canadian Bursary race will also heat up this week. Launched by Commissioner Richard Janes earlier this year, the Bursary awards points based on top-ten finishes in a format identical to that used for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. With points awarded for Canadian events on the 2006 schedule, Griff and American Steve Friesen currently share top spot with 85 points each. Once the season wraps up, the fund will award $5,000 to the top Canadian and the top international player.

Five-time PGA TOUR champion and fan favorite John Daly is taking part in a handful of events Monday and Tuesday but will not be in the starting field once Thursday rolls around. European Tour star Jean Van de Velde of France will play on a sponsors exemption.

NOTES: Daly and Van de Velde teed it up Tuesday in a shootout with six Quebec pros, including Tour members Craig Matthew and Jerome BlaisDaly headlined a star-studded pro am Monday that also featured National Hockey League stars Vincent Lecavalier, Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy and Guy Carbonneau.