E-notes: Schwab Cup race tightens, just two weeks leftOctober 21, 2008
Dave Lancer, PGA TOUR Staff
With his victory last week, Bernhard Langer moved into second place in the year-long Charles Schwab Cup competition, just 84 points behind leader Fred Funk. Jay Haas is now third, but he's only 97 points behind Funk.
Hal Sutton made his Champions Tour debut last week and finished in a tie for 23rd after rounds of 71-70-72. He'll be teeing it up again this week when the Tour heads to San Antonio for the AT&T Championship.
Dave Stockton finished in a tie for fourth last week at the Administaff Small Business Classic for his best showing since a tie for fourth at the 2004 AT&T Championship. Stockton is 66 years old and shot scores of 69-69-70 last week.
This week's AT&T Championship marks the 24th anniversary of a Champions Tour event in San Antonio. Only one other Champions Tour tournament (Bank of America Championship near Boston, at 26 years) has been played longer in the same metropolitan area.
After being played for 17 years at The Dominion Country Club, the AT&T Championship moved to Oak Hills Country Club in 2002. Oak Hills served as the host of the Texas Open from 1961-66 and again from 1977-94. The list of former champions at the venue includes many of the current members of the Champions Tour : Hale Irwin (1977), Ron Streck (1978), Lee Trevino (1980), Bill Rogers (1981), Jay Haas (1982, 1993), Jim Colbert (1983), John Mahaffey (1985), Ben Crenshaw (1986), Donnie Hammond (1989), Mark O'Meara (1990), Blaine McCallister (1991) and Nick Price (1992). In addition, Oak Hills Country Club hosted THE TOUR Championship in 1987, with Tom Watson claiming the title by two strokes over Chip Beck.
This week's AT&T Championship is the final full-field event of the 2008 Champions Tour season. A number of players are battling for a berth in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. A year ago, the 30th spot went to Jim Thorpe, with $605,038, and he made the most of his opportunity, winning the season-ending event in Sonoma, Calif., the following week. This year, 30 players have already exceeded Thorpe's figure. Heading into this week's tournament, Joe Ozaki currently sits on "the bubble" at No. 30, with $605,403. Bob Gilder is a mere $2,280 behind ($603,123).
Native Texan Blaine McCallister, a five-time winner on the PGA TOUR, turned 50 on Oct. 17 and will play in his first event at the AT&T Championship. McCallister is bidding to become just the 13th player in Champions Tour history to claim a title in his debut. Mark Wiebe is the last to do it, at the 2007 SAS Championship. McCallister could also become just the third player to win on all three Tours, joining Ron Streck and Keith Fergus who have already won on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour. McCallister won the 1991 H.E.B. Texas Open at Oak Hills, beating Gary Hallberg with a birdie on the second playoff hole.