When opening round action gets underway Thursday, 156 golfers will compete for the $200,000 purse at Wild Bluff Golf Club, located just a few miles from the International Bridge that separates Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. and Michigan.
Sundays champion will take home a check for $32,000.
The Bay Mills Open Players Championship is the final full-field event of the year, with only the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort Pro Am Classic remaining. That event, showcasing the top 76 available players from this years money list, will be held next month and christens the John Daly-designed Thundering Waters Golf Club.
Wild Bluff will play host to the event for the fourth year in a row. Jeff Quinney won the inaugural event in 2002, with Rodney Butcher taking honours the following year. Chris Wisler of Dover, Del. is the defending champion and will be in Brimley this week looking for a repeat performance.
The Golf Channel will broadcast all four rounds of the Bay Mills Open Players Championship from 1-3 pm Eastern daily.
Players lingering near the top of the money list will be looking for one final push this week in the hopes of grabbing one of the two available exemptions into the second stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School this fall. Due to the entry deadline for the PGA qualifying tournament, those two byes will be handed out once play wraps up Sunday.
Texan Jaime Gomez currently holds down top spot on the Order of Merit while rookie Peter Tomasulo, who won the Montreal Open earlier this month, sits second. David Mathis, Michael Harris and Canadian Stuart Anderson round out the top five.
It has turned into the season of the first-time winner on the Canadian Tour, with nine of ten champions in 2005 hoisting Tour hardware for the first time. Of the ten winners, nine will be in Michigan'Gomez, Tomasulo, Mathis, Anderson, Scott Gibson, Jim Seki, Craig Taylor, Matt McQuillan and Lee Williamson.
If a U.S. born player is to win at Wild Bluff for the fourth time in as many years, other players to keep an eye on include Butcher, Brian Guetz, Rob Johnson, Michael Harris, Robert Hamilton, John Mallinger, Will Yanagisawa and Chris Wall.
Should Mike Grob make the cut this week, he could become the all-time earnings leader on the Canadian Tour. The three-time Tour champion, with $338,877 in Tour winnings, trails Jim Rutledge by less than $1,000 Cdn. ($339,688). Grob recently surpassed the $1 million barrier in career winnings on the PGA, Nationwide and Canadian Tours.
On the Canadian front, players to watch include Anderson, Derek Gillespie, Brad Fritsch, Rob McMillan, Mike Mezei, Chris Baryla, Lee Curry, Craig Matthew and Dan Swanson.
Aussies Luke Hickmott, Ben Bunny and Lucas Bates lead the international charge into Bay Mills, with Swedens Anders Hultman and Alex Rocha of Brazil also hoping to find the winners circle this week.