By BOB HARIG
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 30, 2000
LAKE BUENA VISTA -- Chris Perry missed the cut two weeks ago in Las Vegas. He missed by a stroke last week at the Tampa Bay Classic. Yet he still had a chance to finish among the top 30 money winners and earn a trip to Atlanta next week for the Tour Championship.
Perry came through Sunday, shooting 69 to finish at 15-under-par 272, tied for 13th at the National Car Rental Golf Classic.
With the $54,600 he earned, Perry moved past Rocco Mediate and Scott Hoch into 30th position on the money list with $1,348,449. He bumped Rocco Mediate out and pushed Hoch back to 32nd.
"I play to win, but when you're nine shots behind Tiger (Woods) and Steve Flesch on this kind of golf course with no wind, you pretty much have no chance to win," Perry said. "At least I accomplished one of my goals this year, finishing in the top 30.
"I was very disappointed that I didn't make the Presidents Cup team and didn't win this year. So at least I got one of the three."
Mediate began the week in 30th place but missed the cut. Hoch was 31st but finished tied for 57th. Mediate ended up missing the Tour Championship by less than $30,000.
"No offense to Rocco, but maybe it's justice since he beat me in the Buick tournament," Perry said, referring to Mediate's one-stroke victory this year at the Buick Open. "But I'm pleased to be going."
LOOKING AHEAD: Among other things still on the line this season are spots in the 2001 Masters. Those who finish among the top 40 money winners earn an invitation to Augusta National. Brad Faxon began the week 48th.
"I'd love to get back in," said Faxon, who won the B.C. Open this year. "I was thinking about it a lot. I love that place, so it's a good thing."
Faxon shot 69 to finish at 14-under 274 and in a tie for 24th. He earned $22,200 but remained in 48th position.
He also can make it to the Masters by being among the top 50 ranked players in the world a month before the tournament.
"I've got some time," Faxon said. "But I'd like to take care of business."
SATISFACTION: The shot was all over the flag, a laser 7-iron from 170 yards. It set up an easy birdie for Bob Heintz at the last hole, and it gave him a small measure of satisfaction. He birdied the last hole each day of the weekend. And he managed to secure his best PGA Tour finish in months, a tie for 22nd.
"I wasn't able to storm in there for a six-figure check," he said. "I wasn't quite sharp enough to go quite that low as some of these guys. But I'm making progress. It's reassuring to know that I didn't play my best golf and yet I'm still in the top 25."
Heintz, a PGA Tour rookie who lives in Palm Harbor, shot 69 to finish at 14-under 274. He moved from 188th to 183 on the money list. But with just one official event remaining, Heintz is faced with having to return to the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament.
ON THE SPOT: Dan Forsman ended the week where he began: on the bubble. He is 125th on the money list, the final spot for full exempt status next year. He will go to Jackson, Miss., this week, play for the seventh straight week and attempt to keep his position. Forsman earned $6,600 for his tie for 57th. He is less than $12,000 ahead of Valrico's Pete Jordan, who is 126th and missed the cut.