Glover Beats Byrd in a Playoff at Wells Fargo
Charlotte, North Carolina – Lucas Glover overcame two years of personal and professional struggles on Sunday at the Quail Hollow Country Club to win the Wells Fargo Championship in a playoff over third round leader Jonathan Byrd. Glover’s last win was at the 2009 U. S. Open, he had missed his last three cuts and had only one top-10 all year and he is in the process of getting divorced.
Glover finished regulation with a three under par 69 to catch Byrd who could only muster an even par 72. In a week that featured outstanding putting, Glover was particularly clutch down the stretch making par at the Green Mile, holes 16, 17 and 18. He is the first champion at Quail Hollow to shoot all four rounds in the 60’s.
Despite his outstanding play all week Glover could not shake his good friend and former Clemson University teammate, Byrd. With Glover already in the house at 15 under Byrd came to the 72nd hole needing a birdie to tie. The finishing hole at Quail Hollow had only seen two birdies all day on Sunday and Byrd had yet to birdie it in the three previous rounds. A good drive left him with an 8-iron to the green to a tough left-front pin. Byrd knocked it on to about 12 feet right and slightly above the hole. He coaxed it down the grade where it just barely dropped in. Glover had jokingly told Peter Kostis of CBS after his round that he knew Byrd would birdie 18 because they had talked about being paired together late Sunday. Byrd’s birdie made it come true.
The playoff took them back to the 18th hole where Byrd found the right fairway bunker and Glover split the fairway. Byrd’s approach shot was pulled left off a hook lie in the bunker and ended up left of the green and left of the water hazard just inside the hazard line but playable. Glover striped his 8 iron onto the green 24 feet past the hole. Byrd tried a flop shot that carried too far past the flag and couldn’t make the comebacker for par. Glover dripped his first putt down the hill but left himself about four feet which, just like he did all week, knocked in the hole for the win.
After the playoff Glover explained his transformation. “Yeah, it was a great week, obviously, but as of Tuesday afternoon, it was still kind of a struggle. I found a little something late Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning going into the pro-am and played very well on Wednesday. I don’t usually put a lot of stock into how I play on Wednesdays, but I needed something with some confidence in it, and I played well, and I just took that with me Thursday and got off to a good start, played great, and then it just kind of fell in and was kind of there the rest of the week.”
He was quick to acknowledge his putting as the key to the win. “I putted great all week, and I made some clutch putts, 16, 17. And then to get that one in on 18, I’ve had that putt so many times for par, after putting it from above the hole down there in years past, I felt like I knew what it did, and it was just get it on line and get it there. I was fortunate too – I kind of planned on leaving that chip below the hole so I could be aggressive, and luckily that panned out. You know, like I said, I knew the putt and rolled it in.”
Byrd was a bit deflated after having come so close. “Obviously I’m a little disappointed just because you’re here to win. 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. You know, a lot of good stuff this week. You know, I stuck to my plan. I played within myself. Today was the worst I've played all week, but I still hung in there and still gave myself a chance and did some amazing stuff on the last three holes to get in a playoff, you know, with the 8-iron on 16 to a foot and then a good par on 17 and then an awesome birdie on 18. So I’m quite pleased with that. I’m just a little disappointed with how I played the rest of the 15 holes earlier in the day.”
Rory Sabbatini shot the round of the day, a 7-under 65 to post 14-under and was the leader in the clubhouse until the Glover and Byrd heroics. He was just rolling along thinking he had no chance to win until he got to the back nine and checked out the scoreboard. When did he think he might sneak in? “You know, I will say I made birdie on 10, and then when I got to I believe it was 13, I saw the scoreboard. I think at that time Jonathan Byrd was at 15, and I was like, well, I'm not going to be able to catch him. So I birdied 14, 15, and then 16, and well, when I birdied 15 I looked at the scoreboard and realized I was only one back, and then obviously birdied 16, and looked up and I was still one back, and this time it was Lucas. You know, Lucas, he ground it in, and that’s what you have to do sometimes. That’s how you win. It’s not necessarily the birdies that count. Sometimes it’s those pars that you manage to scrounge out that really make the big difference. You know, he made some pretty impressive par saves on the closing stretch there, so my hat’s off to him.”
Bill Haas finished at 13-under and Kevin Na was at 12-under for fourth and fifth places.
1) Lucas Glover (USA) 67-68-69-69 (273, -15) wins in playoff
2) Jonathan Byrd (USA) 66-68-67-72 (273, -15)
3) Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 72-71-66-65 (274, -14)
4) Bill Haas (USA) 64-70-71-70 (275, -13)
5) Kevin Na (USA) 69-69-67-71 (276, -12)
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