October 10, 2011
Vartan Kupelian, PGATOUR.COM Contributor
Editor's note: Vartan Kupelian is the Champions Tour Insider and a PGATOUR.COM Contributor. Each week, Kupelian will size up the field and provide his top 5 players going into the tournament, based on factors such as the player's strengths, the course setup, recent performances, etc.
Rod Spittle became only the 11th golfer in Champions Tour history to win after Monday qualifying, and the first in six years, when he captured the AT&T Championship last year.
Spittle got into a playoff with Jeff Sluman by making three straight birdies on the back nine, beginning at the 15th hole, then won with a 4-foot par putt on the first extra hole. His first title earned Spittle a $262,500 payday and a spot on this year's Champions Tour.
A former collegiate star at Ohio State, Spittle turned professional in 2004 in anticipation of the Champions Tour after spending a career selling insurance.
The AT&T Championship at the new TPC San Antonio (Canyons Course) is the final full-field event on the 2011 Champions Tour. The top 30 on the money list -- Spittle is safely in that group -- will tee it up in two weeks at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. The season-ending $1 million bonus will be up for grabs at TPC Harding Park.
|Power Rankings: AT&T Championship|
| || ||Tom |
|He added 84 Charles Schwab Cup points with a T4 finish at Insperity and padded his lead in the season-long race to 421 points ahead of Mark Calcavecchia. With two events left, only eight players have a mathematical chance to catch Lehman.|
| || ||Mark |
|He continues to be a top-10 machine, posting his 13th last week in 20 events this year. He's first in scoring average (69.13) and first in Par Breakers at a rousing 27.23 percent.|
| || ||John |
|Lots of success at AT&T Championship when it was at Oak Hills C.C. He won back-to-back in 2007 and 2008 and last year was T3, missing the Rod Spittle/Jeff Sluman playoff by a stroke. Will he be looking ahead to the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, where he is two-time defending champion.|
| || ||Jay |
|Haas also has a proven record at the AT&T Championship, where he won in 2005, finished T2 in 2009 and T4 last year. Besides, he's coming off a T4 at Insperity and is obviously energized by son Bill's extraordinary triumph in the FedExCup.|
| || ||Brad |
|He became the 19th different winner on the Champions Tour this year at the rain-shortened 36-hole Insperity Championship and that just demonstrates the depth of the field. It's wide-open every week. Faxon became the sixth first-time winner on the Champions Tour and fourth in a row.|
This week's Power Rankings for the AT&T Championship: