Palma Real Golf Club is the site for the tours sixth official event of 2004. It is third year in a row the 6,875-yard, par 72 track will host a Canadian Tour tournament. Mexicos Pablo del Olmo won the inaugural event two years ago before Canadian Derek Gillespie cruised to an eight-shot win for his second Tour triumph last season.
The schedule for the Corona Ixtapa Classic has been modified slightly, with tournament rounds being staged Wednesday through Saturday.
So far in 2004, American-born players have won all five Canadian Tour events, including Rob Johnson, last weeks winner at the Michelin Guadalajara Classic.
Gillespie will be looking to successfully defend his title in Ixtapa and at the same time win his third Tour championship in as many years. Rob McMillan of Winnipeg, MB is fourth on the Order of Merit and has three top ten results in five starts. Craig Taylor, Darren Griff, Dan Swanson, Lee Curry, Adam Short, Doug McGuigan and Craig Matthew are some of the Canadians to keep an eye on at Palma Real.
Johnsons win in Guadalajara was his third in the past fifteen months, and moved him into second spot on the Order of Merit behind Brad Sutterfield. Erik Compton of Florida was the earnings leader a week ago, but his disqualification after the opening round in Guadalajara dropped him down two rungs on the ladder. As play gets underway this week, less than $4,000 separates first through fourth on the money list.
Alex Quiroz of Mexico, the 2002 MTS Classic champion, is coming off a runner-up finish last week and will have plenty of fan support as he chases a win on his home soil.
If the U.S. winning streak is to continue in Ixtapa, look to the likes of Johnson, Compton, Sutterfield, Ben Pettitt, Steve Scott, Mario Tiziani, Chris Wall, Robert Hamilton, Conrad Ray and Kris Mikkelsen to prolong the run.