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Warren Bennett

Last chance for PGA Tour cards

All eyes are on Bradley Hughes this week.

Yes, the same Bradley Hughes that recently missed the cut in eight consecutive starts and is winless in 167 PGA Tour appearances.

Why will he be at the center of attention when the Southern Farm Bureau Classic gets under way Thursday? He holds the 125th spot on the money list, which several are chasing in order to retain their tour cards for 2002.

The final full-field event on the PGA Tour this season will be a tense one, with a handfull of players facing Q-school instead of guaranteed playing privileges next year.

Hughes has collected $401,362 this season but could be bounced by any number of players. Brandt Jobe and Brad Elder are within $11,000 of Hughes, and both are entered this week.

All Jobe and Elder need to do is finish in the top 38 this week and hope Hughes misses the cut, something he has done 19 times in 32 starts this season.

Hughes won't be the only player fighting to hold on to a tour card. Defending champion Spike McRoy is 124th with $401,654 and Woody Austin is 123rd with $401,720.

Jobe and Elder have company in the chase group as Nos. 129-133 all are entered this week and two of them played well here last year.

Tom Byrum, who is 129th with $376,965, tied Elder and three others for sixth and earned $68,860 while Pete Jordan, 131st with $371,128, tied for fourth en route to a $96,800 check.

Fred Couples, who is 128th, is not in the field. He is exempt through next season after winning the 1996 Players Championship.

Steve Lowery won last year's event in a playoff with Skip Kendall after reaching a tournament-record 22-under-par 266 at the Annandale Golf Club, but he is playing another event this week.

The Southern Farm field is made up of those that failed to place in the top 30 on the money list, with comes with a berth to the Tour Championship in Houston.

The top-ranked player competing at Annandale will be Kirk Triplett, who is 36th in the world and 38th on the money list with $1,366,842.

This $2.4 million event is one of the least prestigious on the tour. The $432,000 top prize is the second lowest of the season.

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