PGA Tour Champions kicks off first-ever playoffs

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The race for the Charles Schwab Cup takes on a new look beginning this week on the PGA Tour Champions.

Modeled after the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup Playoffs, the over-50 circuit begins a three-event playoff race with this week's PowerShares QQQ Championship at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Defending Schwab Cup champ Bernhard Langer headlines the event, as the German once again enters atop the standings. The 71-man field was determined based on the season-long money list following the SAS Championship, with earnings then converted to points (one point per dollar). In the playoff events, players will earn two points per dollar.

Only the top 54 players will advance to next week's Dominion Charity Classic in Richmond, Va., with the top 36 players comprising the field at the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Scottsdale, Ariz. As is the case with the Tour Championship, points will be reset for the season's final event such that any of the top five players will win the season-long prize if they win the tournament.

The player closest to Langer in the standings is Miguel Angel Jimenez, but the Spaniard still trails by more than $1.1 million. Joe Durant, Colin Montgomerie and Woody Austin comprise the rest of the top five entering the first postseason event.

Two PGA Tour Champions rookies made this week's field: No. 40 Billy Mayfair and No. 70 John Daly. Daly has made 14 starts this season, with his best result a T-11 finish at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open in July.

Players near the bubble include Ian Woosnam (No. 50), Scott Verplank (No. 52) and Lee Janzen (No. 57), while Steve Lowery clings to the coveted 54th spot by only $10,418 over Fran Quinn.