David Graham of Melbourne, Fla., beat fellow Elon College graduate Craig Gunn of Danville, Va., on the third hole of a playoff as night fell to win the 29th annual Capital City Open yesterday at the District's Langston Golf Course. Graham won $2,500.

Graham and Gunn each closed with five-under-par 67s for 36-hole totals of 137 to force the playoff.

They matched birdie-par on the first two playoff holes. On the third (Langston's eighth hole), Gunn hooked his drive into water on the left, took bogey and lost the tournament when Graham made par.

"I thought my chances would be slim," said Graham, who started the day four shots behind first-round leader Johnny Allen, who opened with 66. Allen, of Birmingham, shot 72 and finished third at 138, followed at 141 by Jimmy Westley of Savannah, Ga. (73 yesterday), Sam Stein of Richmond (68) and Wiley Williams of East Orange, N.J. (70).

"I started out gunning for birdies," said Graham, 32, who divides his time between playing the Florida minitour and being an assistant golf coach at Hampton University.

What looked early to be a battle between wily veterans Allen and Westley (first-round 68) evolved into a late duel between the two minitour buddies Gunn and Graham. Gunn held a one-shot lead over Graham after Graham bogeyed the 17th hole.

On the par-4 No. 18 hole, Graham found a greenside bunker with his second shot and Gunn was to the right of the green in two shots. Graham made a good sand blast to six feet and Gunn chipped to four feet. Graham made his par putt and the tournament was Gunn's if he could sink his short putt, but he missed.

"The putt had a steep break," said Gunn, 24, a two-year pro. "I just hit it right through the break."

Graham said he had no real thoughts of winning until he made eagle 3 on the 10th hole with a drive, a pitching wedge second shot (he had the wind at his back) and a 15-foot putt.

"That was really the big turnaround. That's when I said I had a chance to win the tournament," said Graham, who has played in the last two PGA Tour Anheuser-Busch Classics in Williamsburg. "I started gunning for birdies again."

And he added three birdies on the back nine, leaving Allen and Westley in his wake.

"It's the biggest check I ever won and it came at a good time," said Graham, who said he will return to Melbourne for more minitour action, then try for his PGA Tour card this fall.

Allen, winner of last year's Lee Elder Invitational, said: "I knew if I could shoot 70, I could win the tournament. My whole concern was to beat the golf course. I tied it {with even-par 72}, but I couldn't beat it. I keep getting closer {fifth in last year's Capital City}. Maybe the next time it'll be mine."