AKRON, OHIO, AUG. 30 -- Curtis Strange's three-shot victory today in the World Series of Golf put him in a position he had not anticipated, and may change his plans.

The relatively easy triumph -- he led by a minimum of three shots the entire back nine -- earned Strange $144,000 from the purse of $800,000 and put him over the PGA single-season money record.

His $697,385 surpasses the $653,296 that Greg Norman earned last year in breaking the record of $542,321 set by Strange in 1985.

With the season winding down, it also put Strange atop the point list from which the PGA player of the year -- a title he cherishes -- is chosen.

"When I won {the money-winning title} in '85, I thought I might never have a chance at player of the year again," Strange said. (Fellow Virginian Lanny Wadkins won the 1985 honor, based on a season points system.) "I'd be foolish -- I'd hate myself in later years -- if I didn't do everything I could to win it."

And that might include playing in the Championships of Golf in San Antonio at the end of October. Earlier, Strange had said he would skip that event, the richest in golf history, to fulfill some highly lucrative contracts in a three-week tour of Japan.

"I'm keeping an open mind. I'm keeping my options open," he said.

Strange, 32, coasted to a finishing 71 on the par-70 Firestone Country Club course for the 12th victory of his tour career. His 72-hole total was 5 under par, 275.

His way to the title was eased considerably when Davis Love III, his closest pursuer, had a triple-bogey 7 on the fourth hole.

South African PGA champion Fulton Allem came on for second, worth $86,400, with a 70 for a 278 total. Mac O'Grady, with a 69 today, was the only other player to break par for 72 holes, 1 under at 279.

PGA champion Larry Nelson, Fred Couples and Bobby Wadkins were next at 280. Love eventually struggled home with an 80 -- he also scored a 9 on the par-5 No. 16 hole -- and a 286 total.

Strange's third victory of the year also put him atop the Nabisco Grand Prix of Golf, a season-long oint list that will award the winner $175,000 on condition he plays in San Antonio.

Should Strange skip the San Antonio tournament, he would have to forgo any money he would win from the Nabisco Grand Prix as well as a minimum $32,000 for last place in the tournament, which has a $2 million total purse and $360,000 first prize.

The huge purse almost certainly will determine the money-winning leader, and positions on the money-winning list are important in the player of the year standings.