LOS ANGELES, Oct 10 (Reuters) Desert golf fan Jesper Parnevik is in high spirits for this week's Las Vegas Open after being edged out in a playoff for the Texas Open on Sunday.
Despite being denied his sixth PGA Tour title by American Justin Leonard at the third extra hole, Swede Parnevik was delighted to be back in contention on the world's most lucrative circuit.
''It's a tough thing to get yourself in a position and I'm happy that I got to feel it again because it's been a while,'' the 42-year-old told reporters.
''I think it's been since Bob Hope last year, actually.'' Parnevik, whose last PGA Tour victory came at the 2001 Honda Classic, tied for second place at the 2006 Bob Hope Classic after closing with rounds of 62 and 67.
Also contributing to the Swede's upbeat mood for this week's 4 million dollars event is the fact that he has secured his PGA Tour card for next season.
FREE-WHEELING ''My goal was to get in that 125 and now I can go out and free-wheel a little bit more in the last four tournaments of the year,'' said Parnevik, who vaulted from 138th to 94th in the PGA Tour money list.
Players have four events remaining in the Tour's inaugural Fall Finish to secure a spot in the top 125 and maintain full eligibility for the 2008 season.
Parnevik, who eats volcanic dust to ''cleanse the system'', relishes playing in the heat and two of his five victories in the US have come in the desert -- at the 1998 Phoenix Open and at the 2000 Bob Hope Classic.
American Scott Verplank, the world number 24, is the highest-ranked player in this week's field at the TPC Summerlin and TPC at the Canyons. He makes his first appearance since the US won the Presidents Cup team competition in Montreal last month.
Also back in action after tasting Presidents Cup success is Charles Howell III, along with Canadian Mike Weir, who was a member of the losing Internationals line-up.
Troy Matteson defends the title he won last year by a shot over fellow American Ben Crane and Sweden's Daniel Chopra.
Five other former champions are in the field -- Bob Tway (1990), Bill Glasson (1997), Billy Andrade (2000), Bob Estes (2001) and New Zealander Phil Tataurangi (2002).
REUTERS BJR KN1554