A total of 156 golfers are at the 6315-yard, par-70 Uplands Golf Club for the tours 12th official event of the season. Following the Victoria stop, the Canadian Tour will wrap its 2002 campaign with visits to Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Toronto.
Last week, Malaysias Iain Steel defeated Floridas Ken Duke in a playoff at the Greater Vancouver Classic presented by TELUS. Steel has headed back overseas to prepare for the British Open and will not be in Victoria to try for the British Columia sweep. Duke, who captured the Shell Payless Open at this same course back in 1999, will go searching for his first win of the season this week.
As players go through final preparations for Thursdays opening round, the race for the money title is heating up in the latter stages of the season. Jeff Quinney continues to sit atop the money list with $80,011, but Hank Kuehne, Steve Scott and Canadian Derek Gillespie (Oshawa, Ontario) are within striking distance. Three Canadians are among the top ten money leaders- Gillespie ($52,841, fourth), Winnipegs Rob McMillan ($36,526, seventh) and David Hearn of Brantford, Ontario ($33,131, eighth).
Paul Devenport and Jason Bohn, the two most recent winners of this event, are also included in one of the strongest starting fields of the season. In 2001, Devenport, who hails from New Zealand but now resides on Vancouver Island, defeated Victoria native Blair Piercy by one shot at Gorge Vale Golf Club.