Lucas Glover made three big putts just to stay in the game and then hit the most important shot — on dry land in a playoff — to beat Patrick Cantlay on the first extra hole and win the FedEx St. Jude Championship on Sunday for his second straight victory.
And so the amazing run continues for the 43-year-old Glover, who two weeks ago was No. 112 in the FedExCup and preparing for an early end to his season. Now he’s assured the TOUR Championship at East Lake and perhaps consideration for the Ryder Cup.
Glover made a 20-foot par putt, a 30-foot bogey putt and a 12-foot par putt over the final six holes to close with a 1-under 69 and force a playoff with Cantlay, who surged into contention with a 64 at the TPC Southwind.
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 and two-putted for par. Cantlay took a penalty drop and his 20-foot par putt just slid by the right edge.
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 FedExCup 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 looks 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.
On the 13th, his approach buried in a hole in deep rough and he did well to chop that out to some 20 feet. He made that for par. Then, he blocked his tee shot on the par-3 14th into the water, went to the drop zone and hit it 30 feet short. He made that for bogey.
After tying Cantlay with an up-and-down just short of the green for birdie on the par-5 16th, he missed another fairway and made a 12-foot par putt.
Glover goes to No. 4 in the FedEx Cup after starting this week at No. 49 and has made just short of $5 million in the last two weeks. As for the Ryder Cup? Glover would need to win the BMW Championship next week to have any chance of earning one of six automatic spots.
But two straight wins, and a now reliable putter, surely has the attention of U.S. captain Zach Johnson and how to spend those six wild-card picks.
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.
Taylor Moore started one shot behind Glover, bogeyed three of his first four holes and was never in it. He rallied late for a 71 to finish alone in fifth.
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.
Cam Davis and Hideki Matsuyama had reason to feel like winners. Both 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 and was only 2 under for his round after a birdie at the 15th. And then came the 90-minute storm delay.
“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.