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Michael Allen

Michael Allen

Allen wins Greater Hickory Classic in a playoff Add to ...

CONOVER, N.C. - Michael Allen was more than willing to work a little overtime Sunday at Rock Barn.

"I got off to a good start this year, but the rest of the year has been up and down," Allen said after beating Olin Browne in a playoff in the Greater Hickory Classic. "It's been a frustrating year overall. At the end of the year, I really wanted to have a good finish. I really want to win a few tournaments ... but today turned out to be an exciting finish."

Allen won his second Champions Tour title of the year and fifth overall, birdieing the first extra hole.

Allen closed with a 5-under 65, also birdieing the par-5 18th in regulation to match Browne at 13-under 197. Browne shot a 64, charging to the lead with seven birdies over a nine-hole stretch.

"I got off to a little bit of a slow start," Browne said. "But I had that great run, and gave myself a chance. One more putt here or there, and I would have had no worries."

In the playoff, Allen put his second shot within 10 feet, and Browne hooked his second shot badly into the rough off the green. Allen's eagle putt just lipped out, and he tapped in for birdie. Browne missed a 40-foot putt for birdie and settled for par.

Second-round leader Bernhard Langer had a 69 to finish third at 11 under. He cut Kenny Perry's lead in the Charles Schwab Cup standings to 394 points with two events remaining. Perry, who entered the tournament with a 609-point lead, tied for 20th at 4 under after a 69.

Jim Rutledge of Victoria had a bogey-free round of 64 to vault up the leaderboard and finish in a tie for 26th. Rod Spittle of Niagara Falls, Ont., shot 69 to finish in a tie for 44th. Spittle now sits 32nd on the money list. With one official event remaining, he needs to get into the top 30 to retain full status for next year and qualify for the season ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Allen, playing in the lead group with Langer and Brad Bryant, said he didn't know Browne had taken the lead until the final three or four holes. He wound up birdieing two of the final three holes in regulation to make up a two-shot deficit and force the playoff.

"All of a sudden, here comes Olin," Allen said. "I thought I was going to be battling with Bernhard ... but it wasn't until I got to 16 or 17 that I knew he was leading. So I had to be more aggressive on my putts."

Allen earned $240,000.

 

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