AT&T Championship: Final-round notebookOctober 26, 2008
Phil Stambaugh, PGA TOUR Staff
SAN ANTONIO -- After registering 14 top-10 finishes on the season, John Cook claimed his first win of 2008 Sunday at the AT&T Championship. Cook's win was his second career title on the Champions Tour and he became the fifth player this year to successfully defend a title.
Inside the Numbers Final Leaderboard Player Score 1. John Cook 197 -16 2. Keith Fergus 200 -13 T3. John Morse 201 -12 T3. Jay Haas 201 -12 T5. Bruce Fleisher 202 -11 T5. Jeff Sluman 202 -11 T5. Mark James 202 -11 T8. Joey Sindelar 204 -9 T8. Scott Simpson 204 -9 T8. Gene Jones 204 -9 T8. Dan Forsman 204 -9
• With Bernhard Langer successfully defending his Administaff Small Business Classic title in Houston last week, this marks the first time the Champions Tour has had back-to-back title defenders since 2006, when Dana Quigley won a second straight Greater Kansas City Golf Classic and Allen Doyle claimed his second consecutive U.S. Senior Open at Prairie Dunes.
• Cook became the third player in AT&T Championship history to successfully defend a title and first since the event moved to Oak Hills in 2002. Jim Albus won back-to-back events at The Dominion in San Antonio in 1995-96 and Lee Trevino claimed consecutive titles at the same venue in 1991-92.
• Cook became the 18th different winner on the Champions Tour this year. His victory Sunday was his third in the state of Texas (1998 Byron Nelson Golf Classic).
• Cook's second straight victory at Oak Hills earned him a check for $247,500 and increased his 2008 earnings total to $1,661,538, making this his best financial season ever. On the PGA TOUR, Cook earned $1,624,095 in 2002. Cook also picked up 248 Charles Schwab Cup points and increased his Schwab Cup total for the year to 1,867 points.
• Cook's win marked the sixth straight year the AT&T Championship has been won by a rookie. It's now happened 13 times in the 24-year history of the tournament. Don January (1997), Bruce Crampton (1986), Jim Dent (1990), Lee Trevino (1991), David Graham (1997), John Mahaffey (1999), Doug Tewell (2000), Craig Stadler (2003), Mark McNulty (2004), Jay Haas (2005) and Fred Funk (2006) are the others to do it.
• A total of 11 of the last 13 winners of this event have all posted three straight rounds in the 60s.
• Haas finished tied for third this year at the AT&T Championship, his fourth consecutive top-20 finish at Oak Hills. He earned 109 Charles Schwab Cup points and as a result, moved back into the lead in the Charles Schwab Cup race. Haas now has 2,556 points on the year and Fred Funk, the leader coming into this week, has 2,544. Langer was idle this week and remains at 2,460 Schwab Cup points. Last year, Haas went into the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship trailing Loren Roberts by 165 points and ended up finishing second. Two years ago, Haas went into the Charles Schwab Cup Championship with a 126-point lead and ended up winning over Roberts by 20 points, the closest race ever.
• Double points are on the line for top-10 finishers at next week's event in Sonoma, the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. The winner of the Charles Schwab Cup will receive a $1 million payout. Based on the points available (884) to the winner of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, only five players have an opportunity to claim the 2008 Charles Schwab Cup. In addition to Haas, Funk and Langer, Eduardo Romero (2,460) and Cook (1,867) still have an outside opportunity to claim the Schwab Cup.
• Oak Hills Country Club played to a stroke average of 69.973 Sunday compared to 71.316 on Friday last year and 72.333 on Friday in 2006. Overall for three rounds, Oak Hills played to a stroke average of 70.419, the easiest it hass ever played for this event. Last year, Oak Hills played to a stroke average of 70.774 last year and 71.201 in 2006.
• Bob Gilder's final-round 66 allowed him to finish tied for 30th and his check for $11,600 leapfrogged him over Joe Ozaki into the 30th spot on the money list. As a result, Gilder earned his way into next week's Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Sonoma for the eighth straight year. Gil Morgan's streak of years in the season-ending event ended at 11 straight while Jim Thorpe, the defending champion next week, saw his streak of years in the season-ending tournament end at nine consecutive seasons.
• Rookies John Morse and Joey Sindelar carded 8-under 63s Sunday, the best rounds of the day. Morse's round was his career-best on TOUR and vaulted him up into a tie for third, his best effort ever on the Champions Tour. Sindelar's round was his best on the Champions Tour and moved him up 33 spots into a tie for eighth, the biggest move of any player in the field in the final round.
• After not registering a top-10 finish since early July, Keith Fergus fired a 6-under 65 to finish second at the AT&T Championship, his best effort on the Champions Tour since winning last year's Ginn Championship at Hammock Beach.
• Blaine McCallister finished tied for 64th in his Champions Tour debut.
• After starting this week on the outside looking in (57th), England's Mark James finished tied for fifth this week, his best effort of the year, and earned conditional status for next season by securing the 50th spot on the 2008 money list. James' check for $68,200 increased his yearly earnings total to $335,286 and bumped Ron Streck out of the final conditionally-exempt spot. Streck ended the year with $328,612.
• J.C. Snead withdrew before the start of the final round with a hip injury.