U.S. Open: Glover wins by two shots
By Doug Ferguson
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. ó Lucas Glover steadied his hands for a 3-foot par putt on the 18th hole, an anticlimatic finish to five dreary days at a U.S. Open filled with more delays than drama.
The unlikely champion turned to soak up a beautiful sight beneath gathering clouds Monday at Bethpage Black.
“I just looked at the scoreboard to make sure this was really happening,” Glover said.
Some 24,000 fans, speckled with mud from a long walk soiled, could surely relate.
Glover never lost the lead over the final 12 holes, even though the attention was always on someone else. He closed with a 3-over 73 for a two-shot victory in a U.S. Open that might be remembered more for the week than the winner.
Ricky Barnes was the long shot who didn’t last very long with the 54-hole lead. He shot 40 on the front nine to turn control over to Glover, and wound up shooting a 76 to join Mickelson and Duval in a tie for second.
Glover didn’t have a compelling storyline, just the kind of golf that wins a U.S. Open in any conditions.
He made only one birdie in the rain-delayed final round, and it could not have been timed any better. Tied for the lead with three holes to play, he split the middle of the fairway and had 173 yards left to the hole at No. 16.
It was a smooth 8-iron, like thousands he has hit on the driving range. It landed six feet from the cup.
“The putt was all you could ever ask for under pressure,” Glover said.
His caddie, Don Cooper, helped him with the read and told him, “There’s no way we’re missing this.”
“It would have went in a thimble,” Cooper said.
Glover arrived at the 17th tee in time to see that Duval had made bogey and that Mickelson earlier had dropped a shot there, too. Suddenly, he was two shots ahead, and he made sure the U.S. Open didn’t have a surprise ending.
The 18th tee was moved forward to play 364 yards, and the record will reflect that Glover hit a 6-iron off the tee and a 9-iron to the green on the final hole of his U.S. Open victory.
No matter. His name is on the trophy, right under Tiger Woods, in the same company as so many greats.
“I hope I don’t downgrade it or anything with my name on there,” Glover quipped. “It’s an honor, and I’m just excited and happy as I can be to be on here.”
Glover finished at 4-under 276 and earned $1.35 million, moving from No. 71 to 18th in the world.
The 29-year-old from South Carolina, who chews tobacco and listens to Sinatra, had not won since holing out a bunker shot on the final hole at Disney nearly four years ago.
But this was no fluke.
“I hit the shots today that I had to hit in the situation, and that was a little more gratifying,” Glover said.
It was the first time the U.S. Open ended on a Monday without a playoff since 1983, courtesy of relentless rain.
And for the first time in five years, all the major trophies belong to someone other than Tiger Woods.
Glover closed with the highest score of a U.S. Open champion since Ernie Els had a 73 at Oakmont in 1994, although the only score that mattered was his even-par 35 on the back nine ó and that crucial birdie.
SAME MONEY: The total purse for the tournament was $7.5 million, the first time since 1981 there was not an increase from the previous year. Glover received $1.35 million as the champion and Fred Funk, who finished last among the 60 players making the 36-hole cut, earned $19,921.
BIG PUTT: Ricky Barnes’ missed birdie putt on the 18th hole wound up costing him $250,170. Make it and he would have finished second alone at 277 and would have won $810,000. Instead, he finished in a three-way for second with Phil Mickelson and David Duval and won $559,830.
SHORT ENDING: The 18th hole on Bethpage Black was the source of most concern during the weather-plagued tournament since it was the one fairway that did not drain well and faced having quite a bit of casual water on it.
For the final round, it played just 364 yards, the shortest closing hole in a major since the 2005 British Open.
“They had to put a lot of the tees up this week just because it’s so soft,” Tiger Woods said. “I’m sure they probably did that on 18 because the fairways are basically under water. They had to move it up there so we were actually hitting it on the upslope.”
For the tournament, the 18th played to an average score of 4.1227, the 11th-toughest hole on the course. In the final round it was the third-easiest with an average score of 3.883.
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