Glover triumphs at Quail Hollow
The stakes were never as high as they were Sunday in the Wells Fargo Championship.
Glover was never better.
Clinging to a one-shot lead, Glover closed with three gutsy pars of the brutal finishing stretch at Quail Hollow, slamming his fist when he made the last one from 7 feet for a 3-under 69 and what looked to be a sure win. Then came Byrd, with two great pars of his own, followed by a shot into 15 feet that he made for birdie on the 18th for a 72 to force a playoff.
Glover wound up a winner with a par on the first extra hole, ending a drought of 41 tournaments that stretched nearly two years back to his U.S. Open win at Bethpage Black in 2009.
It was the eighth playoff this year on the PGA Tour, and the third in a row.
“I’m elated,” Glover said. “Any time you win, you’re pleased. It means you beat everybody. You did what you set out to do on Thursday morning when the bell rang. Against this field and on this golf course and in a tournament of this magnitude, I’m thrilled.”
And against one of his best friends?
That might have helped. Glover, in his first PGA Tour playoff, felt a sense of calmness playing against Byrd, who had won his last two tournaments in extra holes. And it showed.
In regulation, Glover hooked his tee shot so far left that it settled under a spectator. He was given a drop, then watched the ball roll down the bank toward the stream as he got ready to hit it. Because he never grounded his club—that was his plan, given the lie on a side of a steep hill—he played the next shot without penalty.
“Better stance, worse lie,” he said.
He managed a 6-iron just over the green, hit the most difficult chip he had all day to 7 feet and escaped with another par. In the playoff, however, Glover striped his tee shot down the middle and two-putted from 25 feet.
Byrd, who went from a fairway bunker to the hazard left the green—just short of the stream—hit a difficult chip 25 by the hole and wound up with a bogey.
“I’m a little disappointed just because you’re here to win,” Byrd said. “You love to compete, especially when you get in a playoff. You birdie the last, you feel like, ‘Hey, this is just going to work out.’ ”
Glover, who finished on 15-under 273, became the first player in the nine-year history of the tournament to post all four rounds in the 60s.
Rory Sabbatini, who closed with a 65 and was 13-under 131 on the weekend, wound up alone in third and will move into the top 50 of the world. Now he has to stay there for two more weeks to be exempt for the U.S. Open.
Bill Haas had a 70 to finish alone in fourth. Pat Perez, who set a tournament record with 26 birdies, had an outside chance at winning until closing with three straight bogeys to tie for sixth.
Lehman wins in playoff
At Birmingham, Ala., Tom Lehman won the Regions Tradition for his third victory in seven Champions Tour events this year, beating Peter Senior with a par on the second hole of a playoff Sunday.
Senior, from Australia, missed a 5-foot par putt on
No. 18. Lehman two-putted from about 20 feet.
Both parred the first playoff hole, also No. 18 at Shoal Creek.
Lehman and Senior finished at 13-under 275. Lehman had a bogey-free 3-under 69, and Senior shot a 68.
Lehman won his second Champions Tour major and fifth overall title on the 50-and-over circuit.
Last updated: 5:16 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012