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Christian downs Gronberg in record-tying playoff



Moscow, PA (Sports Network) - Gary Christian needed nine playoff holes Sunday to defeat Mathias Gronberg and win the Northeast Pennsylvania Classic.

Christian finally made birdie on the ninth extra hole to beat Gronberg, who made bogey. The nine additional holes matched the Nationwide Tour record for longest playoff.

"Everything has to end eventually," Christian joked. "I needed to get into the record book somehow. To be honest, I lost count."

Eric Booker needed nine extra holes to beat Notah Begay III and win the 1998 Lehigh Valley Open.

Christian and Gronberg both closed with six-under 64s to finish at 15-under- par 265. Their total of 265 matched the tournament's scoring record, which Blaine McCallister set in 2003.

Through eight playoff holes, neither player blinked, as they both made eight straight pars.

Finally on the ninth extra trip up the 18th hole at Elmhurst Country Club, Christian made birdie to win the title, as Gronberg scrambled to a bogey.

"It's not a hole you can force," Christian stated. "We were like a couple of heavyweights. We both had some chances."

Henrik Bjornstad ended alone in third at minus-13 after carding his third straight three-under 67. Chris Tidland took fourth at minus-11 as he closed with a one-under 69.

Christian and Gronberg played together in the penultimate group on Sunday and they battled throughout. Christian carded birdies on the third, fourth and seventh to move to 12-under.

Gronberg moved one ahead as he birdied three, five, six and seven. However, Gronberg stumbled to a bogey on the eighth. He recovered that lost stroke with a birdie at the ninth.

Christian joined Gronberg at minus-13 with a birdie on No. 10. Both Christian and Gronberg birdied the 11th. Christian briefly took the lead with a birdie on the 12th, but Gronberg birdie the 14th to join Christian in the lead at minus-15.

From the 15th and into the playoff, Christian and Gronberg matched 12 consecutive pars.

David McKenzie (67), Guy Boros (71), Tom Gillis (66), Omar Uresti (67), Ron Whittaker (67), Peter Tomasulo (69), Garrett Osborn (67) and Kevin Chappell (69) shared fifth place at 10-under-par 270.

08/30 21:23:39 ET


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