- Webb Simpson moves ahead of world No. 1 Luke Donald on PGA Tour money list
- American loses to Ben Crane in playoff at McGladrey Classic on Sunday
- Donald trying to be first man to top PGA and European Tour money lists in same year
- Englishman will now need to finish second or higher at final Fall Series event
American golfer Webb Simpson expects a close battle with world No. 1 Luke Donald this week as both seek to top the PGA Tour's end-of-season money list for the first time.
Both will line up in Florida for the final event of the U.S. circuit's Fall Series, with $846,000 on offer for the winner from a total prize purse of $4.7 million.
Donald had been in pole position in his bid to become the first golfer to top both the U.S. and European money lists in the same season, but Simpson went $363,029 clear in the PGA standings despite suffering a playoff defeat to fellow American Ben Crane at the McGladrey Classic on Sunday.
Englishman Donald, who went to a friend's wedding instead, will now need to finish second or higher at the Children's Miracle Network Classic at Disney World starting on Thursday to usurp Simpson.
Simpson has won $6.2 million so far from 25 events, while Donald is on almost $5.84 million from 18.
The 26-year-old Simpson is seeking to cap an incredible breakthrough year in which he won his first title at Wyndham Championship in his home state of North Carolina in August, then triumphed in the second event of the FedEx Cup playoffs and narrowly missed out on the $10 million jackpot when he faded to 22nd at the Tour Championship.
"I think coming in, finishing second is going to make it a lot harder for Luke," world No. 12 Simpson told the PGA Tour's official website.
"But I'm sure he's going to play well. He's played well most every week this year. I still wouldn't be surprised if I have a little work to do next week.
"It would be nice to run away with it, but it wouldn't surprise me if it's going to be pretty close. Winning would take care of a lot, I think."
Crane said his form over Sunday's final round was "as good as I can play" after claiming his fourth title.
The new world No. 50 carded eight birdies in the final 11 holes to finish on 15 under par, before Simpson bogeyed at the second additional hole to hand Crane victory.
"Is that right?" Crane said when he heard the statistics from his impressive round. "What the heck? Wow. That's as good as I can play.
"I just said, 'Well, if I'm going to have a chance, I'm going to have to birdie two of the last three holes.'
"Newsflash: If you don't birdie the first one and you're dormie with two holes to play and you've got to make two birdies, it gets harder. I read it perfectly and the ball went right in the middle and I was just thrilled."
Despite the win, his first since the Farmers Insurance Open in January 2010, Crane had little time to celebrate, with his wife Heather due to give birth to their third child on Monday.
"I told my wife, 'I don't even know if I should -- what am I doing here? You're about to go into labor ... Should I even be playing this week?' " he said
"I was driving, bringing the car down after the playoff was over, and someone said, 'Well, you've got to name the baby -- the baby's middle name has got to be McGladrey or Frederica ... Sea Island.'"
American Michael Thompson mised out on the playoff by one shot as he finished third ahead of 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen.
Oosthuizen's fellow South African and 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman was fifth on 12 under, two shots clear of a five-way tie for sixth place which included two-time major winner Angel Cabrera.
Jim Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion who topped the PGA Tour money list in 2010, tied for 11th on nine under.