A win on this tour can go a long way to help secure those playing privileges for the following year. The top-20 money earners at seasons end will be rewarding with a bump to play with the big boys.
Last week, Joe Daley birdied the first playoff hole to win the Wichita Open over Shane Bertsch. The victory vaulted Daley from No. 45 to No. 10 on the official money list with $149,320, moving him a step closer to a return trip to the PGA Tour.
The victory was the second of Daleys career after having won the Louisiana Open during his rookie season on tour in 1997. The 45-year-old, who quit his job as a credit manager in 1992 to pursue professional golf, battled injuries in 2003 when two herniated discs were discovered in his neck. Surgery was ruled out when doctors discovered his blood was too thin to clot, resulting in a one-year hiatus from the tour. A lifestyle change focusing on exercise and proper diet eventually healed the injury.
Last year, Charles Warren and John Elliot battled down to the final hole at the Cox Classic with Warren coming out on top when Elliot missed a short par putt at the last.
Warren parlayed the win into an eight place finish on the Nationwide Tour money list, earning him the right to play the PGA Tour. He is in good shape to retain that card as he currently ranks 76th with $708,437 in the bank.
In the eight years that the Cox Classic has been held, four of the 12 players who either held or shared the lead going into the final round went on to win the tournament: Chris Smith (1997) held the lead by himself, Mathew Goggin shared the third-round lead in 1999 before winning by four strokes, Heath Slocum in 2001 and Jay Delsing in 2002.
In 2002, Anthony Painter established a new single-event mark for birdies when he made 29 en route to his second-place finish.
The Nationwide Tour heads to Missouri next week for the Price Cutter Charity Championship that Brad Ott won last season.