Week 19 Power Rankings: Walmart First Tee Open

August 31, 2009
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. MORE RANKINGS: Deutsche Bank Championship | Mexico Open The Charles Schwab Cup race is heating up, and it will only get tighter this week at the Walmart First Tee Open.


Loren Roberts narrowed Fred Funk's lead last week at the Boeing Classic. Roberts, he 2007 Charles Schwab Cup winner, moved to within 86 points of Funk's leading total (2,051). Bernhard Langer, who led most of the season, remains in third place after a T3 finish but he'll miss the next three tournaments to play in a pair of events in Europe.

Larry Mize is in fourth place followed by Joey Sindelar. Mark O'Meara moved into sixth place with his runner-up finish at the Boeing Classic. It's a good time for O'Meara to be playing well. He's the Prince of Pebble Beach, with five victories on the famous links, and is among the favorites to back up his solid showing last week with another win on the Monterey Peninsula.

Power Rankings: Walmart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach
Rank Player   Comment
The victory at the Boeing Classic was his third of the year. He's been on a tear with two wins, a T4 and T5 in his last four starts, which have included 14 sub-par rounds in 15, and is averaging more than $200,000 a start in this stretch.
He was the leader in the clubhouse until Roberts birdied the final two holes Sunday for the victory. The Walmart First Tee Open is at Pebble Beach Golf Links and that means O'Meara is in his element. He won five times at Pebble Beach on the PGA TOUR.
Never got it going at the Boeing Classic and finished T55, his worst of the season. But until there is more evidence, we'll just call it a blip on the radar. He tied for fourth last year at the First Tee Open behind winner Jeff Sluman.
He has some glorious history at Pebble Beach, too. He won the 1982 U.S. Open there over Jack Nicklaus and holed that memorable chip at No. 17 on Sunday. The 2009 season owes Watson a nice victory to remember after the disappointment of Turnberry.
He's coming off a sixth-place finish last week, his best since a T2 at the '08 Walmart First Tee Open. Stadler finished second at the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf this year, losing a playoff with partner Jeff Sluman, this week's defending champ. The stars are aligned.

This week's Power Rankings for the Walmart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach: