Elder cruises to 4-shot victory on Nationwide Tour

Elder cruises to 4-shot victory on Nationwide Tour

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Brad Elder shot a 6-under 65 Sunday to win the Nationwide Tour’s Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open by four strokes.

Elder finished at 19-under 264 and his winning margin over second-place Fabian Gomez of Argentina was the largest in the 18-year history of the event. Elder also won this event in ’99 and was runner-up in 2004.

“I enjoy being here. It’s a nice town. I grew up in Tulsa, so this is nearby,” said the 32-year-old, who has three career victories on the Nationwide Tour. “It’s a great golf course. It really fits my eye. The people and the fans make it a fun tournament.”

Elder finished his round with an eagle on the 14th hole, a birdie on No. 15, par on 16 and birdies on 17 and 18.

“I finished great. I got it done when I needed to,” Elder said. “I’ll keep that finish in my mind. That is what I will remember about this tournament. I had some luck today and that helps you win as well.”

The $90,000 winner’s check moved Elder from No. 45 on the money list to No. 15 and on pace to finish inside the top 25 and earn his 2008 PGA Tour card. Elder spent four seasons (2000-2003) on the PGA Tour with his best finish a tie for second at the 2000 SEI Pennsylvania Classic.

“It would mean a lot to get back to the PGA Tour. That’s the ultimate goal,” Elder said. “I have a long way to go still. These guys out here are all very good. I’m going to have to continue to play very well.”

Gomez shot a bogey-free 65 for his first top-10 finish of his rookie year. The runner-up finish moves him to 60th on the money list.

David Hearn (67), Stephen Gangluff (67), Miguel Carballo (67) and Vance Veazey finished a shot behind Gomez, tied for third.

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