The top 20 on the money list at the conclusion of the season-ending Tour Championship will earn their 2005 PGA Tour cards.
Winning this week will help ' but its no guarantee for graduation.
Each of the last four Mark Christopher winners has failed to earn his PGA Tour playing privilege for the following season.
James Oh, last years champion, Monday qualified for the event and then defeated Jess Daley on the third playoff hole for his first Nationwide Tour title. He not only became the 15th Monday qualifier in tour history to win a tournament, he also became the youngest-ever winner on tour, at 21 years, 5 months, 27 days.
David Duval was 21 years, 9 months, when he won the 1993 Wichita Open.
The win didnt get him his PGA Tour card, but it guaranteed him a spot on the developmental circuit for this season.
However, entering this week Oh has made only one cut in 14 starts, earning him all of $1,513.
This is the 11th playing of this event, which was originally called the Nike Inland Empire Open. Skip Kendall won the inaugural contest, in 1994, in a weather-shortened 54 holes.
The tournament was moved from Moreno Valley Ranch Golf Club in Moreno Valley, Calif., to Empire Lakes in 2000. Each of the last three tournaments at Empire Lakes has resulted in a playoff.