And Then There Was One

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2005 Nationwide Tour ChampionshipIt began Jan. 27 in Panama. It will conclude Oct. 30 in Prattville, Ala.
 
The Nationwide Tour is down to its 31st and final event of the season. And this one will finalize the fields fate.
 
Troy Matteson
Troy Matteson has a chance to set a new single-season money record this week.
The event is open to the top 60 players on the money list; though, only 59 will be in attendance. Jason Gore, who is currently second in earnings, will not be on hand as he already has PGA Tour status. He won three consecutive Nationwide starts this summer to claim a battlefield promotion. He then won the 84 Lumber Classic upon graduation.
 
Because of Gores elevated eligibility, the top 21 finishers on the money list at tournaments end will collect their PGA Tour cards for next season, up from the traditional 20.
 
Troy Matteson has already wrapped up the money title. That is significant, because No. 1 on the season-ending money list earns a higher position on the tours All-Exempt Priority Ranking, which translates into better playing opportunities in 06.
 
Matteson still has a few things to play for, however. A win will be his third of the year. It wont change his PGA Tour status for next season, but it will put him in select company as one of only 19 men to accomplish such a feat.
 
The 25-year-old former NCAA champion out of Georgia Tech also has Zach Johnsons seasonal money record in his crosshairs. With $483,032, Matteson is less than $12,000 behind Johnsons 2003 total.
 
But what Matteson is playing for pales in comparison to that of most of the rest of the field. There are plenty of things still up for grabs:
 
  • Top 21 on money list graduate to the PGA Tour;
  • Top 35 advance into the final stage of Q-School;
  • Top 60 (the Tour Championship field) fully exempt on the Nationwide Tour in 2005.
     
    This years purse is $650,000, with $150,000 going to the winner. That means everyone in the field has a chance to finish inside the top 21.
     
    Bill Haas is currently in the 21st position with $189,676. Scott Petersen is 60th with $92,294.
     
    Petersen feels fortunate to still be playing. Last weeks Miccosukee Championship in Miami was cancelled due to the threat of Hurricane Wilma. That allowed Petersen to keep hold of his monetary position.
     
    Nick Watney entered last years Tour Championship 19th on the money list. He promptly won and catapulted into the fifth position.
     
    Brett Wetterich was the only player from a year ago to start the week outside the top 20 and finish on the inside. He was 23rd prior to his runner-up finish, and 10th following it.
     
    Money is at the heart of this weeks tournament. But these players are competing for more than just $650,000; theyre playing for the opportunity to win millions and millions more.
     
    The Nationwide Tour offered purses totaling around $16 million this season. The PGA Tour, on the other hand, gave its players a chance to win over $250 million.
     
    Past winners include David Duval in the 1993 inaugural event; Allen Doyle in 95; Stewart Cink in 96; Steve Flesch in 97; Bob Burns in 98; and Spike McRoy in 00. All seven of these players have won on the PGA or Champions tours.
     
    The Golf Channel will air all four days of the season finale, beginning Thursday at 2:30 p.m. ET.
     
    Related Links:
  • TGC Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - Nationwide Tour Championship