Lucas Glover & Ricky Barnes share lead
Lucas Glover was quick with a one-liner when asked about the reserved crowd reaction Sunday at the rain-drenched U.S. Open when he pulled within a stroke of third-round leader Ricky Barnes.
“He’s got cooler pants than me,” Glover said, joking about his playing partner’s plaid slacks that were as loud as Barnes’ newfound fans at Bethpage Black.
Glover—tied for the lead with Barnes at 7 under with 16 holes left in the final round—then offered a deeper and revealing response, one befitting a man who has read four books this week and hoped to find another Sunday night.
“I don’t think there’s very many people that think I can or will do it anyway, so that’s fine,” said Glover, the 29-year-old long-hitter who won his lone tour title in 2005 at Walt Disney World—about as far from the U.S. Open as it gets on the tour.
What did Glover, facing a 123-yard shot from the second fairway when play resumes Monday, think about his chance of winning?
“Well, that’s my opinion and I’ll keep it,” he said about 2 1/2 hours before he caught Barnes—six strokes ahead in the third round—with a par on No. 1.
After opening rounds of 69 and 64, Glover matched Barnes with a 70, then pulled even with a routine par to Barnes’ bogey from the left rough on the opening hole in the fourth round. They were five strokes ahead of Phil Mickelson, David Duval, Hunter Mahan and Ross Fisher.
“We got 16 1/2 holes to go. It’s just golf,” Glover said. “We’re going to have to make some birdies. There’s birdies to be had out there.”
He dismissed the notion that it was a two-man race.
“No. The golf course is too hard and there’s too many players,” Glover said. “You know, somebody is going to make a run. The greens are still soft and they’re rolling perfect. I fully expect a handful of guys to make a run. You have Phil sitting there and everybody that’s playing is a great player so, no, you can’t think that at all.”
After dropping four strokes in a three-hole span in the third round, Glover made three birdies and eight pars in his final 11 holes. Barnes also helped, losing four strokes to par on his final 13 holes.
“I felt like I had to attack on the back to get back in it,” Glover said. “When I had an opportunity with a good angle or a short iron or something, I went at it. Ten was a bonus, 5-iron close, and 11 was a pitching wedge and 16 was a 9-iron.
“When I got a short iron in my hand, I had to go at it, and when I didn’t or didn’t have a good yardage, I just played to one side or the other. I had to be a little more aggressive on the back than I wanted to be … because of my results on the front.”
After bogeying Nos. 18 and 1, Barnes hit his final shot of the day into the deep left rough on No. 2, giving Glover a slight edge when play resumes.
“Ricky’s been great. We’ve been friends a long time and we’ve known each other forever,” said Glover, making his fourth Open start after missing the cut at Bethpage in 2002 and again in 2006 and 2007.
The former Clemson player used a football analogy—grandfather Dick Hendley starred for Clemson and spent a season with the Pittsburgh Steelers—when asked if he was a scoreboard watcher.
“Sure. Sure, I have to. I like to know where I stand,” Glover said. “Football coaches don’t coach the fourth quarter not knowing what the score is. People are different in that regard. Some people don’t want to know, but I do.”
Glover turned to humor again when asked about how loose he was between rounds.
“It’s an act,” he said.
He might get the last laugh Monday.
“I dream about it every day,” he said. “It’s a goal, but they don’t give it to you.”