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The PGA Tour tracks the movement of the 125th spot on the money list each week, and historically it does not change by more than $25,000. But on the final day of the season, the one-week change was a whopping $63,649.

Troy Merritt at No. 121 should have been safe all along, but he nearly tumbled out of the top 125 _ he made it on the number _ because so many players outside the top 125 were in contention. That’s a rarity.

Five players from the top 10 on the leaderboard started the week outside the top 125. That enabled three of them _ Roland Thatcher, Michael Connell and Mark Wilson _ to secure their cards for next year.

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MASTERS LOOKAHEAD: J.B. Holmes made an eagle on his 17th hole (the par-5 eighth) at Disney to put himself in position for a Masters invitational. Then came a bogey from the bunker on his last hole, and he was out.

Heath Slocum, who played his final six holes in 1-under par and made a 7-foot par save on his final hole, tied with Holmes at 6-under 282 and retained the 30th spot on the PGA Tour money list by $1,439 over Holmes. The top 30 players receive invitations to the Masters.

Perhaps it’s only fitting Slocum edge him out, since he won a tournament this year (McGladrey Classic at Sea Island).

Holmes’ only way to Augusta National now is top 50 in the world the week before the Masters _ he’s at No. 65 now and will slide even further over the next month _ or to win a tournament.

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A LESSON IN SCHEDULING: One key to Lee Westwood’s success was cutting back on his schedule _ finding the right balance that keeps him sharp competitively but still feeling fresh when he plays. It’s one reason he no longer takes up PGA Tour membership.

But when told that Ryo Ishikawa of Japan played 17 consecutive weeks last year, Westwood signaled his approval.

“I played 17 in a row in 1996, and I won my first European Tour event that last week at the Scandinavian Masters,” said Westwood, who was 23 at the time. “It just felt like the right thing to do.”

Westwood felt he was young enough that playing such a big schedule was not a burden.

“I think some young kids don’t play enough,” he said.

Tiger Woods played at least 26 events his first three full seasons (including unofficial events). He said he spoke with Ishikawa about his schedule after their exhibition in Japan a few weeks ago.

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