Glover makes it 2 in a row by winning FedEx Cup opener in a playoff over Cantlay
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Mostly from the stifling heat, maybe from the pressure, Lucas Glover needed to keep his hands from sweating and he learned a trick long ago from not wearing a glove.
On the 17th tee Sunday, tied for the lead with Patrick Cantlay, he dunked his hands in the ice water of a cooler for as long as he could stand it and then quickly dried them.
“It literally stops them from sweating for a little while,” Glover said.
And it did nothing to cool him off.
Glover won the FedEx St. Jude Championship, his second title in two weeks, this time by making three big putts — one of them for bogey — on the back nine, closing with a 1-under 69 and then beating Cantlay in a playoff with what ultimately was the most important shot.
His tee shot on the 18th hole in the playoff found dry land. Cantlay’s did not.
Glover won with a par to extend a most amazing run. Just 10 days ago, he started the PGA Tour’s postseason at No. 112 in the FedEx Cup — No. 119 in the world ranking — and was looking at an early end to the season.
He won the Wyndham Championship to get into the FedEx Cup playoffs. He won at the TPC Southwind and now already has locked up a spot in the Tour Championship. He is No. 30 in the world. He has earned just short of $5 million in two weeks.
Is the Ryder Cup on the horizon? Glover would have to win the BMW Championship next week to make the team. If not, he felt worthy of a pick.
“Playing pretty good golf, and I think I’d be pretty good in the team room and be a good partner,” he said. “So yeah, absolutely I would.”
Not even Glover could have imagined this less than three months ago, when he thought the yips would stay with him forever, prompting a change to a long putter that must feel like a magic wand these days.
“If you would have told me this three months ago, I’d tell you you’re crazy,” he said “But at the same time, if you asked me legitimately did I think I was capable, I’d say yes, even then. It’s just one of those sad ways athletes are wired.
We always believe in ourselves no matter how bad it is.”
Belief was at its peak on the back nine. Glover made a 20-foot par putt on the 13th, a 30-foot bogey putt on the par-3 14th after a tee shot into the water, and a 12-foot par putt on the 17th to stay tied with Cantlay, who had finished his superb round of 64 and was watching on TV.
The playoff effectively ended with one shot. Cantlay hit 3-wood that was about a foot from being perfect. Instead, it hopped down the bank and into the water. Glover found the fairway with his 3-wood and two-putted for par. Cantlay took a penalty drop and his 20-foot par putt just slid by the right edge.
“Just hooked the ball a little too much off the tee,” Cantlay said. “Bad shot, obviously, and paid the price.”
Glover becomes only the third player in his 40s to win back-to-back weeks on the PGA Tour over the last 25 years, joining Kenny Perry (2003) and Vijay Singh, who did it three times, most recently in the FedEx Cup playoffs in 2008.
“Whether you’re fighting something or playing great, you just work hard. You never know when it can turn,” Glover said. “And it’s turned very quickly for me.”
The biggest fight was the back nine when some of the game’s best lined up trying to take catch him — Cantlay and Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Jordan Spieth and Max Homa.
Cantlay played superbly on the back nine, starting with a chip-in on the 10th hole and giving himself birdie on practically every hole after that. Glover looked to be on the ropes and briefly fell one shot behind. But it could have been a lot worse if not for those putts.
“Got to a point there middle of the back nine where it was just kind of survive and try to give myself as many chances as I could coming in,” Glover said. “That kept us in the game.”
McIlroy birdied the last hole for a 65 and tied for third with Fleetwood (68), who had a birdie chance on the 18th to join the playoff.
Spieth was close most of the way until twice hitting in the water over the last four holes. He shot 70 and joined a large group tied for sixth. Spieth only moved to No. 27 in the FedEx Cup with the late mistakes, and now will have to earn his way to the Tour Championship next week.
Cameron Davis and Hideki Matsuyama played their way into the top 50 in the FedEx Cup. That gets them into the BMW Championship next week, and it assures them a spot in the $20 million signature events next year.
Davis closed with a bogey-free 67. Matsuyama, who has made it to the Tour Championship each of his nine years on the PGA Tour, amazingly has a chance to extend the streak.
He was at No. 57 in the FedEx Cup and was in a tie for 38th going into the final round at the TPC Southwind, still only 2 under for his round after a birdie at the 15th. And then came a storm delay of 90 minutes.
“I looked and saw what I needed to do on the final three holes. I knew I had to birdie them all,” Matsuyama said.
He hit 6-iron to 10 feet for eagle on the par-5 16th. He holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the 17th. And then he made a superb up-and-down from behind the 18th green for par and a 65. That was just enough to crack the top 50 and send him to Chicago.
AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf