Winter Qualifying Kicks Off in Florida


Canadian Tour-LargeThe opening round of the Canadian Tours 2002 Winter Qualifying School is under way in the Sunshine State.
The starting field features 240 golfers representing 16 countries, with 20 exempt and a minimum 10 conditional cards for the 2002 season at stake. ChampionsGate in Orlando, a spectacular 36-hole facility designed by Greg Norman, is the site for this weeks action. Jack Nicklaus' son Michael, is scheduled to compete.
Americans dominate the field with 191 entrants, including former U.S. amateur champions Jeff Quinney (2000) and Hank Kuehne (1998), as well as James Driscoll and Tom McKnight, who finished second to Quinney and Kuehne, respectively, in those U.S. Amateur finals. Twenty-one Canadians are in Florida with the hopes of securing playing privileges this season, while England will be represented by eight golfers. Jamaica, France and Korea will send three participants each, while two more hail from Mexico. Trinidad and Tobago, Scotland, Sweden, Argentina, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Bermuda, Brazil and the Bahamas have one player each in the starting field.
More than 20 NCAA All-Americans in addition to 20 former state or provincial champions will take part. Many hopefuls who will take on ChampionsGate this week have also been members on national teams, or have played events on the U.S. PGA,, Australasian, European, South African and Canadian Tours. Jamie Neher, who fired a course-record 63 as a Golf Channel invite at the Canadian Tours season-opening Myrtle Beach Open last year, will also try to secure a card in Florida.
With play spread over two courses, the National and International, each player will play two rounds at both venues before the field is reduced to the low 60 scores plus ties after Thursdays fourth round. Those surviving the cut will take part in the final round Friday on the International layout. Live scoring will not be available during Q-school, but please check back with nightly for scores and a recap of the days action.
Once Winter Qualifying wraps up, the Canadian Tour will kick off its 2002 U.S. swing in Houston with the Texas Classic the week of March 4. The event is the first of six tournaments that will broadcast live on The Golf Channel.