Glover edges Byrd in play-off
Lucas Glover has won a rare, play-off battle of home favourites to clinch the Wells Fargo Championship.
Lucas Glover beat former College team-mate Jonathan Byrd at the first extra hole of a play-off on Sunday to win a rare battle of home favourites at the Wells Fargo Championship.
It was the heavily-bearded Glover’s first PGA Tour title since his Major triumph at the 2009 US Open Championship and it came after a birdie at the last by Byrd matched the 15-under-par 273 tournament target he had set some thirty minutes earlier with a closing 3-under 69.
Byrd, who has dueled with Glover since the two were 10-year-olds and later played alongside Glover for the nearby Clemson University, posted a closing level-par 72 after holding the overnight lead when he led fellow Americans Pat Perez by a shot and Glover and Stewart Cink by two.
Returning to the 18th for the sudden-death playoff, Glover, who had tipped Byrd’s crucial playoff-making birdie at the closing hole while watching his rival finishing his round on a TV set in the scorers cabin, smashed a fine drive down the centre of the fairway after Byrd had hit his tee shot into a fairway bunker.
Byrd hit a clean shot out of the bunker, but he missed the green, landing close to a rocky creek beside it, and needed a chip and two putts to complete the hole with a bogey five.
Glover, meanwhile had found the green with his approach and, after rather nervously coming up short with his birdie attempt, found the hole with the little tester he had left himself and then punched the air in a mixture of joy and relief.
One stroke behind the two Americans was South African Rory Sabbatini, who, despite talk of pending PGA Tour disciplinary action over a recent on-course row with Sean O’Hair, had surged into contention with seven birdies in a flawless, best of the day 65 and a final tally of 14-under.
Glover, 32, couldn’t hide his delight at finally breaking his near, two-year winless streak
“I putted great,” he said, in underlining the fact that he did not have a single three-putt in the tournament.
“The key for me, especially here, was that I made a lot of five to eight-footers for par to keep the rounds going.”
One of those was the tricky left-to-right six footer he had curled in to save par at the 72nd hole after seeing his approach shot run through the green and down a steep slope.
“It’s not the way you draw up the 72nd hole of a tournament, but I made a great chip shot and left it underneath the hole,” he said.
Byrd had won both previous playoffs he had played in – most memorably in Las Vegas last year were he holed his tee shot for a killer ace, but his drive at the first extra hole was his killer this time
“I had a hook lie, a little hook lie out of the bunker,” said Byrd. “I just pulled it … ten yards left of the flag.
“If I couldn’t win, I couldn’t pick anybody else I’d want to win other than Lucas, so I’m very happy for him.”
The victory gave Glover his third PGA Tour title.
“Jon is a great player. He just got a bad break with a tough lie in the bunker,” Glover said.
In fourth place on 13-under was first-round leader Bill Haas, followed by fellow American Kevin Na, who was another shot back.
Former Masters champion Zach Johnson made two eagles on par-fours to post a four-under 68 and tie for sixth on 277 for his first top-10 of the year while Phil Mickelson (69) and playing partner Padraig Harrington (68) were a shot further back on 278.
After completing his round, Harrington was called back to an inspection of the 13th tee where some officials thought he may have teed off in front of the markers.
He faced disqualification, but after a long look at the tee markers and what was believed to be Harrington’s divot, it was decided there was no positive proof of any wrong-doing.
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