Half-Ton Hazard Awaits Players in Mexico

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IXTAPA, MEXICO'There will be an interested half-ton observer watching the action this week during the Canadian Tours Michelin Ixtapa Classic.
 
In a bunker just behind the seventh green at the Palma Real Golf Club, a full-sized female crocodile has laid her eggs and his keeping an around-the-clock watch less than 10 feet away.
 
Players unnerved at the sight of the toothy reptile watching them putt can exhale - not surprisingly, the bunker has been taken out of play for the tournament. The waters around the course are also croc-infested, meaning players wont be overly anxious to retrieve balls launched into the pond.
 
A total of 132 players are in Mexico for the fifth official event of the 2002 campaign. Americans Hank Kuehne and Jeff Quinney, who won titles earlier this year, have both withdrawn from the tournament. Steve Scott of Wellington, Fla., sits third on the Tours money ranking ($40,737) and will look to vault into top spot with a victory here.
 
Also in the starting field is Derek Gillespie of Oshawa, Ontario, who is seventh on the money list ($14,700) after a second-place showing at the Scottsdale Swing at Eagle Mountain two weeks ago.
 
The 6875-yard par-72 layout in scenic Ixtapa will be the site for play when the opening round gets under way Thursday morning. Palma Reals course record is an 8-under 64.