Canadian Winter Q-School Kicks Off


Canadian Tour-LargeEUSTIS, Fla. -- The Canadian Tour will welcome its newest members to the fold this week when the first of two qualifying schools is staged in Florida.
A total of 52 golfers representing six countries are slated to tee it up at Black Bear GC hoping to earn Canadian Tour playing privileges for the coming season. Action gets underway Tuesday at the 7,000 yard, par-72 layout with exempt cards being awarded to the top seven players following Fridays final round. The next seven finishers, plus ties, will have non-exempt status for 2005.
Once the Florida school has wrapped up, the Tour will move west for a second Q-School at Los Serranos G&CC in Chino Hills, Calif. from March 1-4. The Canadian Tour lifts the curtain on the 2005 season March 12-15 with the Barton Creek Austin Pro-Am Classic presented by Yes! Golf.
American-born players make up the majority of the starting field for the Florida school, with 39 hopefuls coming from the United States. Nine Canadians will make the trip to Black Bear, with Mexico, New Zealand, Japan and the Cayman Islands being represented by one player each.
Headlining an impressive field dotted with former collegiate and state champions is Casey Wittenberg of Memphis, Tenn. Wittenberg gained worldwide attention last spring with a 13th-place finish at The Masters, the best showing by an amateur in 41 years. His magical week at Augusta included a Sunday afternoon back-nine 31, the lowest back nine total in history by an amateur. The 2003 U.S. Amateur Runner-Up joins Tiger Woods as the only two players to be ranked the top amateur in the United States prior to starting college. Wittenberg would also garner NCAA All-American honours at Oklahoma State University, represent the U.S. at the Walker Cup and capture the Porter Cup with a record 14-under 266 score. The 20-year-old also had strong showings last year at the Bell Canadian Open (T24) and the U.S. Open (T36).
With the National Hockey League season being put on ice last week, Marc Savard of the Atlanta Thrashers will attract plenty of attention as he looks to join the Canadian Tour ranks. Drafted by the N.Y. Rangers in 1995, Savard, who hails from Ottawa, also spent time with the Calgary Flames before joining the Thrashers in 2002.
Former Tour members Mac McLeod (Winnipeg, Man.) and Michael Hospodar (Brantford, Ont.) will also be among the Canadians to watch.
Since the Canadian Tour began staging winter qualifying schools back in 2001, many graduates have gone on to make an immediate impact on Tour. Both Eamonn Brady (2001) and Anders Hultman (2003) won their initial Tour starts just hours after receiving their playing cards. In 2002, Hank Kuehne, Jeff Quinney and Jimmy Walker won the second, third and fourth events of the season after earning playing privileges in Orlando, Fla. That season, six players from the 02 winter school would combine to win eight titles in their rookie seasons while two players from that class have won two of the past three Canadian Tour money crowns (Kuehne in 2002 and Erik Compton last year).
Several players from Winter Q-Schools have also moved on to the PGA Tour in the past three seasons, among them Kuehne, Walker, James Driscoll, Jess Daley, Will Mackenzie and Jason Allred.
Paul Casey, who recently helped England to the WGC World Cup title and is a member of the European Ryder Cup squad, joined the Canadian Tour in the winter of 2001.

Round 1 - Tuesday, February 22nd
Black Bear GC, Eustis, Florida

7:30 AM
Parker, Adrian Brookhaven, MS
Snelling, Justin Boise, ID
7:40 AM
Davis, Brien Las Vegas, NV
Hibler, Jesse Boise, ID
Sahl, Danny Sherwood Park, AB
7:50 AM
Deschaine, Matt Bay Minette, AL
Guetz, Bret Scottsdale, AZ
Heinen, Eddie Las Vegas, NV
8:00 AM
Horowitz, Joe Long Beach, NY
Ibarreche, Juan Pablo Mexico
McNeil, Scott Calgary, AB
8:10 AM
Heinz, Jerry Poway, CA
Park, Pedro New Zealand
Kennedy, Robert Phoenix, AZ
8:20 AM
Sitterley, Rob Orlando, FL
Savard, Marc Duluth, GA
Sherriff, Justin London, ON
8:30 AM
Meierling, Jan ChampionsGate, FL
Kilduff, Lynn Dallas, TX
Berger, Kelly Wausau, WS
8:40 AM
Yopchick, Scott Chicago, IL
Williams, JJ Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Humphries, John Baton Rouge, LA
8:50 AM
Johnson, Dan O'Fallon, IL
Cook, Dan Charleston, SC
Hogg, Ian St. Davids, ON
9:00 AM
Hospodar, Michael Brantford, ON
Brown, Michael Cheltenham, PA
9:10 AM
Hoenig, Ron Hobe Sound, FL
McLeod, Mac Winnipeg, MB
Seki, Jim Palo Alto, CA
9:20 AM
Lydiatt, Chad Omaha, NE
Wittenberg, Casey Memphis, TN
Collins, Glenn Winnipeg, MB
9:30 AM
Mulder, Brock Dallas, TX
Yarvi, Matt Orlando, FL
Johnstone, Evan Orinda, CA
9:40 AM
McNally. Michael Billings, MT
Zihala, Billy Little Rock, AR
Martin, Greg Austin, TX
9:50 AM
Ferlic, Gavin South Bend, IN
Kings, Ryan Kitchener, ON
Tripp, Shane Orlando, FL
10:00 AM
Smith, Jesse Barrington, NH
Ryan, Jeffery Key West, FL
Noble, Scott Cartersville, GA
10:10 AM
Dickinson, Billy Haines City, FL
Cureton, Chris McKinney, TX
Makino, Yuji Japan
10:20 AM
Petrie, Michael Inverary, ON
Totten, Jordan Cayman Islands
Peterson, Brett Mesa, AZ