The Aiken native missed his PGA Tour card by a shot at Q-school last year, a 15-footer for par that slid by on the 108th and final hole that left him outside the game's top tour.
"It was 108 holes and I missed by a man," Kisner said Wednesday, the day before the start of the Nationwide Tour Championship.
Kisner won't have such regrets this year. He comes in No. 11 and is secure among the Nationwide's top 25 money winners -- all who earn PGA Tour playing privileges in 2011.
"I'm sure it takes away some pressure, more than if I was number 25," said Kisner, who played his college golf at Georgia. "But I'm trying to treat it like another golf tournament."
There's incentives out there for everyone in the field. While 25 golfers leave with PGA Tour status for next season, only the Nationwide's top money winner is fully exempt and earns a place in May's Players Championship.
Former Southern California standout Jamie Lovemark, at age 22 the youngest player on tour, leads the way with $421,784, which gives him a $10,578 edge on Chris Kirk, a former University of Georgia golfer.
Competitors who finish 26-40 on the money list move directly to final stage of the Q-School Tournament.
All 60 golfers here have Nationwide Tour status for 2011.
Kisner, a 26-year-old in his first full Nationwide season, felt the pressure much of the season until a win last month at the Mylan Classic in Canonsburg, Pa., assured him an easier stretch run.
He knows playing well at the Daniel Island Club's Ralston Creek Course could mean moving up into the top 10 and increasing his PGA Tour opportunities.
Those outside the top 25 plan to let it loose one last time to reach their goal like Matt Every here last fall. Every came in 49th but won the tour championship to jump up to 10th and secure his PGA card.
The winner's check of $180,000 is big enough to bring any of the chasers a spot on the PGA Tour.