A stellar starting field of 156 golfers will take on the scenic and historic 6,656-yard, par 70 Royal Colwood GC with a $19,831 winners check on the line. The Golf Channel will broadcast all four rounds of the Victoria Open in the networks first visit to Canada for a Canadian Tour event.
Aussie Scott Hend is back to defend the title he won a year ago at Uplands GC. It was an eventful past week for Hend and his wife Leanne, who were married last year in front of the B.C. Legislature, four days before Hends first Tour triumph. After losing in a playoff for a spot in the British Open last Monday, Hend flew halfway around the world, arriving in Edmonton Wednesday before pegging it up in the opening round the following day.
After equalling the course record 64 on Saturday, Hend would eventually wind up third at Windermere G&CC. This week, Hend will be looking to become the first player to successfully defend a title since Brian Kontak won the Henry Singer Alberta Open in 1998 and 1999.
The race for the Order of Merit money title is heading into the home stretch, with just three events remaining after the Victoria stop. Once the season wraps up, the top two off the money list will be exempted into the second stage of PGA Tour Qualifying, while the top six will gain a berth into the Bell Canadian Open. Victoria will see one of the strongest starting fields of the season, with all seven event winners- Rob Johnson (two wins), Anders Hultman, Derek Gillespie, Erik Compton, Mario Tiziani and Jon Mills- slated to tee it up in Thursdays opening round. Michigan native Michael Harris, who sits second on the Order of Merit despite not having a triumph this season, will look to move into the winners circle come Sunday afternoon. Longtime Canadian golf standouts Richard Zokol and Jim Rutledge are also in Victoria this week.
Ranked as one of the top courses in the nation, Royal Colwood, which opened in 1913, has played host to all of the major amateur championships for both British Columbia and Canada. The prefix Royal was bestowed on the club by King George V on July 29th, 193,1 following a request by his eldest son, H.R.H. Edward, who was a frequent visitor to the Colwood GC.