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Money Race Heats Up in Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba--The race to the Order of Merit money crown heats up this week as the Canadian Tour stops in Winnipeg for the MTS Classic.
 
The 6522-yard, par-71 Pine Ridge Golf Club will play host to the Tours 14th official event of the season. Last year at Pine Ridge, Kenneth Staton of Ormond Beach, Fla. hit a pressure-filled approach shot on the final hole to within three feet before dropping the birdie putt to defeat Mark Slawter by one stroke. Slawter, who would be named International Rookie of the Year later in the season, had fired a final-round 9-under 62, tying the course record that Calgarys Wes Martin had set earlier in the day. It was Statons third official tour triumph.
 
Staton then went on to earn his PGA Tour card a few months later, just as 2000 MTS champion Ben Ferguson had done the year before.
 
Jeff Quinney of Scottsdale, Ariz., who sits atop the money list with $51,901, will not be in Winnipeg after finishing tied for seventh last weekend at the Buy.com Tours Dayton Open, which gives him a spot in the starting field for this weeks Fort Smith Classic. Hank Kuehne is second in the money race with $47,975, but will tee it up in the PGA Tours B.C. Open in Endicott, N.Y.. Derek Gillespie of Oshawa, Ontario ($36,789) is third, followed by Steve Scott ($36,187).
 
Winnipeg natives Rob McMillan and Todd Fanning will make their homecomings this week and should get an extra push from the hometown faithful. McMillan captured his first of three Canadian Tour titles as an amateur back in 1996 in what was then known as the Xerox Manitoba Open. That event was also played at Pine Ridge, which just happens to be the 26-year-old McMillans home course. McMillan won the Barefoot Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C. in April and is currently ninth on the Order of Merit. Fanning, a former draft pick of the NHL's Vancouver Canucks, has spent most of the year on the Buy.Com Tour. Also in the starting field will be Winnipegs Adam Speirs, a rising star who qualified for the U.S. Open a few weeks ago.
 
Scoring updates will be showcased by MTS on www.cantour.com for the second consecutive year. Please check out the leaderboard on our homepage and visit the MTS Classic site at www.mtsclassic.com.
 
After the Winnipeg stop, the Canadian Tour will take a two-week break before wrapping up its 2002 schedule with the TELUS Quebec Open and the Greater Toronto Open.

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