Last year, John Merrick needed three playoff holes to defeat Gavin Coles and claim his first tour win. Merrick closed with three straight rounds in the 60s to match Coles at 11-under 277. Coles had been going for his third tour crown.
Merrick, who is on the PGA TOUR this year, currently stands in 125th place on the money list. That is the final position for someone to maintain their full status on the PGA TOUR without a win.
This is the sixth year of the event and tournament officials have signed an extension through 2011 with the total purse climbing each year.
A very busy GOLF CHANNEL will have tape-delayed coverage of all four days. Next up for the Nationwide Tour is the Legend Financial Group Classic, where Coles picked up his third tour crown.