CANADIAN TOUR STORYLINES – TIMES COLONIST ISLAND SAVINGS OPEN
29th Times Colonist Island Savings Open
Uplands Golf Club
Victoria, British Columbia
2011 Winner: Jose de Jesus Rodriguez
TALE OF THE TAPE
Uplands Golf Club
Victoria, British Columbia
Par 70 – 35/35 – 6,420 Yards
Designed: 1922 (Unknown) - Resident course architect Graham Cooke
Course Record: 61, Roger Sloan
- Has hosted the Times Colonist Island Savings Open in 1984, 1989, 1995, 1999, 2002, 2005 and since 2008.
A handful of local players will be looking to please the crowds this week, with a mix of established veterans and exciting young rookies teeing it up in front of friends and family this week in Victoria. Nearby Sooke BC’s Stuart Anderson, the 2011 Tour Championship winner, is one of the premier players in the field, while Victoria resident Cory Renfrew, a former standout at the University of British Columbia who finished third at the 2012 California Qualifying School, is set to make his CANTOUR debut this week. Other local players include former University of Victoria standouts Parker Lilly and Mitch Evanecz, as well as current UVic player Carson Kallis.
PGA TOUR RELATIONSHIP BEGINNING TO BLOSSOM
The 2012 Times Colonist Island Savings Open marks the first event since the Canadian Tour and PGA TOUR entered an historic agreement that will see the PGA TOUR provide assistance and support in a number of areas including sponsorship, event development, finance and general management. Since January the PGA TOUR has been familiarizing itself with the CANTOUR’s players, tournaments and business operations, with the prospect of the CANTOUR becoming a development tour for the Nationwide and PGA TOUR and an even more streamlined path for players to the top of the world golf stage.
CANADIAN ROOKIE RACE GETS UNDERWAY
With the start of the 2012 season comes the inaugural race for Canadian Rookie of the Year sponsored by the Great Waterway Tourism Region. 15 Canadian born rookies will be competing in a season-long race for the title, determined by their position on the Order of Merit at the completion of The Great Waterway Classic (September 3-9, 2012). This year’s crop includes Big Break Indian Wells winner David Byrne, former world amateur no. 1 Nick Taylor, two past Canadian University champions in Mark Hoffman and Cory Renfrew as well as Wilson Bateman, Dan Bowling, Brett Cairns, Ryan Corbin, Adrian Cord, Mitch Evanecz, Thomas Hay, Billy Houle, Steven Lecuyer and Scott Stiles.
BIG BREAKERS IN THE FIELD
A win at the Times Colonist Island Savings Open would be a big break for any member of the 156-man field this week. But for three players, getting a Big Break is certainly no strange feeling - in fact, for what is believed to be the first time ever, three winners of the Golf Channel's Big Break will be teeing it up in the same professional event. Big Break Indian Wells winner David Byrne, Big Break PEI winner Derek Gillespie and Big Break Mesquite winner Brian Kontak are all competing in the Times Colonist Island Savings Open this week, each looking to add a big win to an already well-known profile.
COMEBACK (NOT REALLY) KIDS
A handful of veteran players will be returning to the Canadian Tour this week following some time off, including 1996 Times Colonist Island Savings Open champion Arden Knoll, as well as CANTOUR veterans Scott Peterson and Todd Pence and Brian Kontak.
Last year, long-hitting Matt Hoffman used a T-8 showing at the 2011 Canadian Tour Championship to earn Canadian Rookie of the Year honours. This year, another rookie will be looking to follow in his footsteps – his younger brother Mark. After a successful amateur career that culminated in a victory at the 2011 Ontario Amateur Championship, Mark Hoffman earned his CANTOUR card at the 2012 California Qualifying School and will look to make his mark in his first Canadian Tour event this week. Meanwhile, 2008 Times Colonist Open champion Daniel Im will be teeing it up alongside his brother Jae-Woo Im, a CANTOUR member since 2009 with three top-10 finishes to his name.
Players in the hunt at this year’s Times Colonist Island Savings Open will have a few more challenges to overcome from the finishing holes at Uplands Golf Club, with some new fairway bunkers on the 16th and 18th added in since last year’s tournament. Under the direction of resident course architect Graham Cooke, Uplands has added numerous fairway traps over the past 10 years including two on the 10th hole and four on the eighth.
This week’s field includes 53 Canadians, 88 Americans and players from 11 other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Brazil, South Korea and more.
A total of 48 rookies will be teeing it up in Victoria. Past champions include Mike Grob, Brock Mackenzie, Arden Knoll and Daniel Im.
Last year's champion Jose de Jesus Rodriguez earned an spot in the Nationwide Tour's Mexican Open this week and will not be back to defend his title.
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