MITCHELLVILLE, Md. -- Mathias Gronberg of Sweden ran away from the field on the 36-hole final day of the Melwood Prince George's County Open. He shot two bogey-free rounds of 67 and 65 to finish at 19-under par, six shots ahead of Robert Damron and Justin Bolli. His four-round total of 269 is a tournament record.
Due to heavy rains and resulting course conditions, play was suspended midway through the first round on Thursday and did not restart until Saturday morning. The first and second rounds were completed on Saturday and the third and fourth on Sunday. The final two rounds were played with groups of three going off the first and 10th tees. Play began at 7 a.m. and finished at approximately 7 p.m.
Gronberg was one of 75 players who were unable to complete the first round on Thursday. He got in 11 holes before the suspension. With play rained out again on Friday, he played the remaining seven holes of the round on Saturday in addition to 18 more for the second round.
"I started today five shots behind the leader," he said. "You need 36 holes to play well, to kind of squeeze by, and that's what happened. I got very hot at times today, especially in the final round. There were a couple of stretches where I played very, very good golf. "
After a marathon weekend at Melwood, Gronberg drives to New York for another 36 holes on Monday at a U.S. Open sectional qualifier. On Tuesday he heads back down to Memphis, Tenn., for the St. Jude Classic on the PGA TOUR.
The hectic pace doesn't daunt him.
"When you're playing well, you want to keep playing," he remarked. "Obviously it's easy to say now, but I don't feel that tired. Hopefully I'll feel just as good and as happy as I was today."
This is the first win for Gronberg in an official-money PGA TOUR sanctioned event. He is a four-time winner on the European Tour and was the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament medalist in 2003. In 2008, he earned his PGA TOUR card via q-school for the third time and played at Woodmore this week after not getting into the Memorial Tournament.
This is his second event of the year on the Nationwide Tour. He has 163 career starts on the PGA TOUR since 1995, but has only played five so far in 2009 due to a foot injury.
With this victory, Gronberg earns $121,500 and moves to eighth on the 2009 Nationwide Tour money list. The top-25 finishers at the end of the season earn PGA TOUR cards for 2010. Last year, the 25th position on the money list was $218,902.
Although he has status on the PGA TOUR this year via his 2008 q-school finish (tied for 19th), he may elect to play additional Nationwide Tour events this year to secure his status for 2010. The win guarantees him fully-exempt status on the Nationwide Tour for the remainder of this year and all of next.
After firing a 3-under-par 69 in the third round to get to within two shots of the leaders, current Nationwide Tour money leader Michael Sim shot a 1-over 73 in the final round and finished tied for 10th. Sim was looking for his third win of the season and an instant promotion to the PGA TOUR.
It was mostly sunny throughout Sunday's final rounds with temperatures in the low 80s and light winds out of the south-southwest.
• Twenty-six players at Melwood are competing in the 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier on Monday in Rockville, Md., 30 miles west of Woodmore. Due to the weather delay, 13 of them played the remainder of their first round and all of their second on Saturday, then another 36 holes for Sunday's final rounds. Notables from Melwood playing in this qualifier are Sim, Garth Mulroy, D.J. Brigman, Alex Prugh, Marco Dawson and Omar Uresti.
• The 15th hole was set up as a drivable par 4 for the third and fourth rounds. It normally measures 400 yards from the back tees, but was played to 278 yards for the third round and 290 yards for the fourth. There were two eagles made on No. 15 in round four by Matt Harmon and Derek Lamely.