Nationwide Players Grapple for Spots

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With the season winding down, players are trying to get into position to crack the top 55 on the money list to qualify for the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship. Just seven tournaments remain prior to the season finale, including this week at the Oregon Classic near Eugene.
 
Nine of the top-15 money leaders are competing this week, including three of the past four champions at this event.
 
Not on hand is 2002 champion Jason Gore, who with his win last year, advanced to the PGA Tour, where he has struggled to find his game. So far in 2003, Gore has made just eight cuts in 23 events with just two top-25 finishes, ranking 171st on the money list.
 
Last season, Gore set all sorts of marks in his record-breaking victory. Trailing by two shots heading into the weekend, Gore carded rounds of 65-71 for a three-shot win over five players and in doing so, set a tournament record of 270. Gore's third-round mark of 199 was also an event record. Ted Purdy, who tied for 17th, held the 36-hole lead at 132, also a tournament record.
 
Fran Quinn set a course record at Shadow Hills with an 8-under 64 during the second round. Quinn's mark broke the previous score of 65 held by 11 players. Quinn finished his round with a birdie-birdie-par-birdie-eagle finish.
 
In the four-year history of the event, there has been one outright, wire-to-wire winner in Eugene. Kelly Gibson led from start to finish in 1999, taking a three-stroke lead over four players after an opening-day 65. Gibson added a 68 to get to 11-under and led by two at the halfway point. His third-round 71 was good enough to maintain a two-stroke advantage after 54 holes. The New Orleans resident hung on to win by one over Craig Perks. Gibson became only the 15th player in tour history to win in wire-to-wire fashion.
 
Past champions Gibson, Charles Raulerson (1998) and Keoke Cotner (2000) are scheduled to compete this week. The purse was increased by $25,000 from last year. Shadow Hills ranked as the 22nd easiest course on tour last year with a stroke average of 71.007.
 
The Nationwide Tour moves to Idaho next week for the Albertson's Boise Open, where Gore titled in 2002.
 
Related Links:
  • Tee Times
  • Full Coverage - Oregon Classic