ALUMNI UPDATE – CHRISTIAN WINS ON NATIONWIDE TOUR, REAVIE RUNNER-UP ON PGA TOUR

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By Ryan Woodcock

Gary Christian fired a final-round 67 and finished at 17-under 267 for the tournament to earn the win on the Nationwide Tour’s Mylan Classic over the Labor Day Weekend.  The win was his second career victory on the Nationwide Tour, but more importantly, it vaulted him all the way from 27th to 4th on THE 25, virtually locking up a 2012 PGA TOUR card with just eight Nationwide Tour events left to play.

“I’m biting my lip a little bit and I might be struggling,” he said after the win.  “I’m not usually at a loss for words but this might be one of those rare occasions.  It’s like a dream come true.”

Christian opened with rounds of 68-63-69, and shared a tie of the lead at 13-under par with John Mallinger and Kevin Kisner at 13-under par.  Christian took an early lead with birdies on three of the first five holes, then held off Mallinger down the stretch to secure his second career Nationwide Tour victory.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Christian said.  “The journey has been tougher.  It might mean more to me, having left my country and my friends.”

Christian has three Top-10 finishes and eight Top-25s on the year.

Runner-up Mallinger, another former GPT player who has played most of the year on the PGA TOUR, finished second at 16-under, just one shot back of Christian.  This comes off his T3 last week, giving him three Top-10s in four Nationwide Tour events in 2011.

For the week, a total of 25 former GPT players finished in the money, with three in the Top-10 and 10 in the Top-20. 

Andrew Svoboda was the other player to finish in the Top-10, carding rounds of 68-65-69-70 to finish T8 at 12-under.  He shot 5-under 31 on the back nine in the final round that included an eagle on the par-5 13th and a birdie to close out on the par-4 18th.  It was his second Top-10 of the season, and seventh Top-25 finish.

Steve Dartnall and Richard Lee both shot final-round 67s to finish T11 at 11-under; Jason Schultz shot rounds of 71-69-66-68 to finish T13 at 10-under; and the group of Jim Carter, Roberto Castro, Chris Epperson and David Lutterus all finished T18 at 9-under par.

Like I mentioned earlier, there are eight tournaments left in the Nationwide Tour season, and now more than ever the importance lies in positioning on THE 25.  Christian and Matt Every jumped back into THE 25, while Matt Davidson dropped three spots to 28 to fall outside THE 25. 

Currently there are 11 former GPT players on THE 25, led by Troy Kelly in the 3rd spot.  Christian sits in fourth, followed by Ted Potter in fifth.  Others on the list include Steve Wheatcroft (10th), James Nitties (13th), Josh Broadaway (15th), Martin Flores (16th), Roberto Castro (18th), Garth Mulroy (22nd), Jeff Gove (23rd) and Matt Every (25th). 

For complete results from the Mylan Classic, CLICK HERE.  For a look at the current THE 25, CLICK HERE

PGA TOUR – DEUTSCHE BANK CHAMPIONSHIP

Chez Reavie had the Deutsche Bank Championship all but wrapped up (or so people thought) as he approached the par-5 18th hole with a one-shot lead.  The 18th had been the easiest hole of the tournament, and during the final round the 18th had only given up five bogeys.  Unfortunately for Reavie, he became the sixth player to bogey 18, and forced a playoff with Webb Simpson.  Reavie ended up falling to Simpson on the second playoff hole, and settled for a runner-up finish at TPC Boston, just barely missing out on his second career PGA TOUR win.

BUT, all was not lost for Reavie.  He earned $864,000 with the win, and jumped up 76 spots from 87th to 9th in the FedEx Cup playoffs.  He becomes the first player in PGA TOUR Playoffs history to move from outside the Top-70 into the Top-10 in the second playoff event.

Reavie had a solid week, carding rounds of 67-68-68-66, and got into contention with a stellar back nine in the final round that saw him make four birdies in a six-hole stretch.  It was his fourth Top-10 finish of the year, and his third Top-10 and sixth Top-20 in his last eight events. 

For the week, 20 former Gateway Tour Players made the cut, with four finishing in the Top-10 and nine in the Top-25.

Brandt Snedeker was the second highest finisher, continuing his solid play with a T3 at 13-under par.  He closed with a 66 in the final round, earning his seventh Top-10 of the year.  He also finished T3 last week at the Barclays, and now sits fifth in the Fed Ex Cup standings.

Like Reavie, Blake Adams made a big jump in the standings, vaulting all the way from 81st to 57th after recording his fourth Top-10 in his last 10 events.  He shot rounds of 70-67-68-70 to finish T10 at 9-under par.  Brendan Steele also cracked the Top-10 for the second time this year, matching Adams T10 at 9-under par.

Steve Marino and Bubba Watson finished T16 at 8-under par.  Marino closed the weekend with rounds of 68-69 to earn his eighth Top-25 of the season; while Bubba Watson earned his best finish since winning the Zurich Classic back in May.  He currently sits 25th in the Fed Ex Cup standings.

Rounding out the Top-25 were a trio of former players, including Sean O’Hair, Johnson Wagner and Gary Woodland, all finishing T25 at 6-under par.

For complete results from the Deutsche Bank Championship, CLICK HERE

The PGA TOUR will take a week off before getting to the third round of the FedEx Cup Playoffs next week, Sept. 15-18 , for the BMW Championship at Cog Hill.  The Nationwide Tour also will take a week off before getting back to action at the Albertson’s Boise Open, Sept. 15-18.  Congratulations to Gary Christian and to Chez Reavie for their outstanding performances.  And as always, good luck to everyone next week!