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Monday, May 9, 2011

The Limerick Summary: 2011 Wells Fargo Championship

Winner: Lucas Glover

Around the wider world of golf: Sun-Ju Ahn rallied to win the Salonpas Cup, the first JLPGA major this year (the Constructivist has all the details); Russell Henley became only the second amateur to win a Nationwide Tour event at the Stadion Classic at UGA; Christel Boeljon won the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open on the LET; Thomas Aiken (yes, another South African) got his first ET win at the Open de EspaƱa; and Tom Lehman beat Peter Senior on the second playoff hole of the Regions Classic, the first Champions Tour major (and Lehman's third win) of the year. And of course, we lost 5-time major champion Severiano Ballesteros to brain cancer.


Glover holds mom and trophyStudy this picture closely, for its message is clear: Fear the beard... unless you're his mom.

When the final day started at Quail Hollow, it looked to be a duel between Jonathan Byrd and Pat Perez. And as usual, looks were deceiving. After 7 holes Perez was +3 for the day, never to get it back. and J-Byrd was struggling to stay even -- just the kind of circumstances that make the field smell blood.

The main excitement early on came from a major pairing. Phil Mickelson made a run, going -4 after 10 holes... before 2 bogeys knocked the wind out of him. His playing partner Padraig Harrington is finally playing like a major winner again -- and not a moment too soon! -- going -6 in 14 holes before 2 bogeys ended his hopes. Several others tried to mount charges as well -- Bill Haas, Kevin Na, Zach Johnson, Bobby Gates -- but they couldn't do enough.

There was also another bizarre rules question as to whether Paddy teed off ahead of the tee markers on 13. The Tour is eventually going to have to bring golf into the 21st Century to avoid these problems. Come on, guys, it's simple enough to put GPS chips in the golf balls so their actual positions can be determined at all times!

And then we got some excitement. Rory Sabbatini, rumored to be in danger of suspension, ran the tables with a bogey-free -7 and posted early at -14. With no player able to get past or even hold on to -15, it looked like he might at least make a playoff if not win outright.

But Lee Westwood, watching the tournament overseas, saw what was happening. Midway through the round he tweeted "Fear the beard!" (Thanks to cbssports.com for that little tidbit.) Lucas Glover has been struggling since his 2009 U.S. Open win, but this week things started to click and Glover began his march up the leaderboard. An eagle at 10 got him to -15 where he finished. And in his after-round interview, Glover calmly told Peter Kostis that Byrd would birdie 18 to force a playoff. They had already discussed playing together Sunday, he said.

And that's exactly what J-Byrd did. Only two players had birdied 18 Sunday until Byrd added his own, sending the two college teammates into a playoff.

But it was short-lived. Byrd missed the green, hit his pitch thin, and two-putted for bogey on the first playoff hole. Glover two-putted for par and his first win in two years.

Where did Glover win this tournament? Ironically, it became clear with the new "Strokes Gained -- Putting" stat the Tour recently introduced. The stat showed that Glover made up over 10 strokes on the field just through his putting!

So this week's Limerick Summary pays tribute to Grizzly Ada -- er, Lucas Glover, who proved that you can play from the rough if it's just on your face:
First Lucas said J-Byrd would putt it in,
Then Lucas faced off against Jonathan.
The Beardman then shot down
The Byrdman and got down
For vict'ry, his first since his Open win.
Click the pic to see the original photo at dallasnews.com.

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