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Allen defeats Browne in playoff at Rock Barn
Conover, NC (SportsNetwork.com) – Michael Allen birdied the first playoff hole
on Sunday to defeat Olin Browne and win the Greater Hickory Kia Classic at
Allen birdied his final hole to close out a 5-under 65 and meet Browne atop
the leaderboard at 13-under-par 197. Browne carded a 6-under 64 during his
Bernhard Langer, who held at least a share of the lead since the first round,
managed just a 1-under 69 on Sunday to finish alone in third place at 11-under
Brad Bryant (69) took fourth at 9-under, while John Riegger (70) finished
alone in fifth at minus-8.
The tournament was contested on a reconfigured golf course at Rock Barn Golf &
Spa due to extensive damage caused by a July rain storm. Sections of the Jones
Course and the Jackson Course at Rock Barn were combined to create the
Champions Course, which played to a par-70 as opposed to the original par-72
Allen entered the 18th hole a stroke behind Browne’s clubhouse mark, and
needing a birdie to force the playoff, found the green with his second shot at
the par-5 closing hole.
After his potential winning eagle putt rolled past the hole, Allen kicked in
his short birdie to meet Browne at 13-under.
The duo then returned to the 18th for the playoff, where Allen’s second shot
rolled to about 10 feet of the pin while Browne’s second settled short of the
Browne then hit his third well past the hole and could not convert his lengthy
birdie attempt, allowing Allen to calmly 2-putt for his fifth career win on
the Champions Tour.
“Olin played great. That’s the way it is out here. You got to play really well
on Sunday, so it always means a lot,” Allen said about his win. “To get this
tournament even out here is absolutely amazing.”
Langer entered the final round with a 2-stroke lead, but Allen quickly erased
that advantage with back-to-back birdies at the first and second.
Langer, however, answered with consecutive gains at the third and fourth to
move to 12-under and reclaim his previous cushion.
Bryant made a run with three straight birdies from the sixth to move into
second place at 11-under before Langer tripped to a bogey at the 10th to fall
into a tie with Bryant for the lead.
Browne then started to make his push, following an early bogey at the third
with seven birdies in a 11-hole stretch from the sixth to claim the outright
lead at 13-under. He parred his final four holes to finish there.
Langer had tried to keep pace during Browne’s run with a birdie at the 12th to
briefly grab a share of the lead at 12-under prior to Browne capping his
sizzling stretch with his fifth straight birdie at the 14th.
“Today was a great day. This week I played nice golf, so hopefully things will
play my way but if they don’t I feel like I’m starting to play better again
and it’s good to be back,” Browne said at the conclusion of his round.
Allen, meanwhile, raced into a tie for second place with Langer by following a
bogey at the 11th with birdies at the 12th, 13th and 16th to move to 12-under.
Langer lost his share of second place with a 3-putt bogey at the 17th before
Allen made his birdie at the last to force the playoff.
NOTES: Allen also won the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic earlier this year
and has now recorded two straight years with multiple titles on the Champions
Tour … Today’s playoff was the fifth on tour this season and the third in
the last five tournaments … Langer recorded his eighth straight top-10
finish and now trails Charles Schwab Cup points leader Kenny Perry by 494
points with two events remaining.