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ELKINGTON TAKES PGA TITLE IN SUDDEN-DEATH PLAYOFF

SHARE ELKINGTON TAKES PGA TITLE IN SUDDEN-DEATH PLAYOFF

Steve Elkington stole what was supposed to be the Ernie Els show, shooting a final-round 64 and birdieing the first sudden-death hole to take the PGA Championship from Colin Montgomerie in a playoff.

Montgomerie forced the playoff with birdies on the last three holes Sunday, including a twisting 18-footer on No. 18. But it was Elkington who rolled in a 25-footer when they returned to 18 for the playoff to take the title.The 17-under-par 267 by Elkington and Montgomerie over Riviera Country Club was the lowest ever in the PGA Championship and tied the scoring record for any major set by Greg Norman in the 1993 British Open.

Elkington started Sunday six strokes behind Els but after three consecutive birdies to open the back nine was two shots in front. Montgomerie, who was five strokes behind when the day began, got close with a 32 on the front nine and then made a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 16, a 5-footer on 17 and the 18-footer on 18 to finish with a 65 and get into the playoff.

His 20-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to keep the playoff going missed right of the hole.

It was Montgomerie's second playoff loss in a major championship, losing the U.S. Open last year to Els. Overall, it was his fifth playoff loss.

"It did go through my mind," Montgomerie said about his record in playoffs. "I felt the law of averages has got to take effect."

It was also the second straight major this year to end in a playoff. John Daly beat Costantino Rocca in the British Open last month.

Elkington's 64 was the lowest final round ever by the winner of the PGA Championship and was his fourth round of 68 or less on a Riviera course that was no match for the tournament's elite field.

Els came into the final round with a three-stroke lead over Mark O'Meara and Jeff Maggert and the way he was playing Els looked uncatchable. His three rounds of 66, 65 and 66 gave him the lowest 54-hole total in history of the PGA.

But Els backed off the aggressive play that got him into the lead and shot a very ordinary 72 on Sunday.