Coming Down to the Wire


The Champions Tour is down to their penultimate event and the last full-field event of the season at this week's SBC Championship (Friday, 5:00 PM ET on TGC) at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio, Texas.
Though the season may be coming to a close, the race for the tour's top awards are still open wide. The money title and Player of the Year are up for grabs, as Tom Watson, Bruce Lietzke, Craig Stadler and the resurgent Hale Irwin will be teeing it up in a effort to bolster their already solid seasons.
Each owns two victories on the season, though both of Watson's victories have come in Champions Tour majors. A victory this week or next week would all but wrap up Player of the Year honors for Watson.
As for the money race, Irwin vaulted himself back into contention with his win at the Turtle Bay Championship last week in Hawaii, climbing from 11th to 4th.
Lietzke currently resides in the top spot with $1,571,486, followed ever so closely by Watson, who has pocketed $1,534,608 for the year, a difference of only $36,878.
Gil Morgan and Jim Thorpe are also in the hunt, and with a first-place purse of $225,000, a win could shake up the order quite dramatically.
Tom Kite, despite not having a victory thus far in 2003, is sixth on the money list and will be returning to his home state of Texas following a runner-up finish to Irwin last week. He also ranks sixth in scoring average.
The SBC Championship will also decide who gets into the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in California in two weeks. The year's final full-field event offers the players their last chance to qualify, as only the top 30 on the money list come Sunday evening get invited.
At the moment, Fuzzy Zoeller sits in the 30th position with Jim Ahern a mere $23,000 behind. Ahern was bumped out of the top 30 after Graham Marsh's third-place finish in Hawaii moved him up from 31st to 28th.

Dana Quigley is the defending champion.
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