Weekly PGA Recap: Glover Gets it Done

Weekly PGA Recap: Glover Gets it Done

This article is part of our Weekly PGA Recap series.

After all the talk, after all the calculations and permutations about who needed to do what to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs, almost nothing happened at the Wyndham Championship. Oh, it didn't seem that way across four days of players bouncing in and out of the top-70 threshold as if they were pinballs. But at the end of the weekend, only one golfer – ONE! -- who wasn't in playoff position before the week claimed a spot in the playoffs.

And that one guy had to win the tournament.

Stone-faced Lucas Glover vaulted all the way from 112th place in the FedExCup Standings to 49th courtesy of his two-stroke win over Russell Henley and Byeong Hun An on Sunday at Sedgefield Country Club.

The biggest takeaway from Glover's fifth career win was not him winning, although it was the terrific culmination of a midseason turnaround, which we will get to. No, it was that Justin Thomas missed the playoffs, and in excruciating fashion. In the most dramatic moment of the tournament -- okay, other Glover's son and daughter bursting into tears of joy after Daddy won -- was Thomas' thisclose chip-in from 100 feet on 18 when he absolutely needed it to go in. It hit the flagstick and stayed out. Just brutal.

Instead of moving into the top 70, Thomas finished 71st. His 2022-23 season is over and now he must wait to learn whether he did enough this week -- he tied for 12th -- to become one of Zach Johnson's Ryder Cup captain's picks. The announcement will come after the Tour Championship in three weeks.

The 43-year-old Glover needed, by the PGA Tour's pre-tournament estimation, no worse than a solo second to get into the playoffs. From the get-go on Sunday, through all 18 holes that even included a rain delay of over two hours, he appeared up to the task, albeit looking miserable throughout.

He led the field in Strokes Gained: Approach. That's the hallmark of his game. But ever since switching to a broomstick putter a couple of months back, he has been much better on the greens. Glover ranked 15th in the field in SG: Putting and, if he can continue with both metrics, he has a good chance of a high enough finish at next week's FedEx St. Jude Championship to clinch a top-50 spot in the standings and a berth in the BMW Championship the following week.

Glover has really rallied over the past two months. Since a missed cut at the Memorial, after which he was 182nd on the points list, he tied for 20th at the Canadian Open, for fourth at the Rocket Mortgage, for sixth at the John Deere and for fifth at the Barbasol before missing the cut last week at the 3M Open. It was at the Memorial that Glover switched his putter.

Even with the 3M missed cut , he now has an ongoing stretch of 18 straight rounds of par or better, according to the PGA Tour.

Glover is up to 53rd in the world rankings and clearly deserving of a spot among the 70 best golfers of 2022-23.

FedExCup Playoffs

Glover remarkably was the only golfer outside the top 70 to get in. The one guy to fall out was No. 70 Austin Eckroat, who had a very good season going only for it to end on this bitter note. Well, it's not over though it feels that way. Eckroat surely will play in the fall season, as will many guys outside -- and even inside -- the top 70.

None of the big five outside the top 70 who were highlighted all week were able to make it in. Besides Thomas, two of the other four gave it a great run.

  • No. 76 Shane Lowry needed at least a two-way tie for 23rd but didn't get close, finishing in a tie for 51st. He'll surely play a bit in Europe, notably the Irish Open, to stay fresh for the Ryder Cup. Lowry will surely be a captain's pick of Luke Donald.
  • No. 81 Adam Scott needed a minimum of a two-way tie for ninth. He actually bettered that, tying for seventh, but those calculations provided by the PGA Tour couldn't account for what other golfers, such as Glover, would do. This is the first time in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs -- since 2007 -- that Scott won't be in them. Now, only Matt Kuchar has made it into every edition.
  • No. 97 Gary Woodland had a good week, tying for 27th, but he needed a great one. He moved up only three spots. We will likely see him during the fall, even though he has two more years on his exemption for winning the 2019 U.S. Open.
  • No. 116 Billy Horschel needed at least a two-way share of second and entered the final round tied for the lead with Glover. But after an incredible stretch of golf with a 62-63 on Friday and Saturday, he never got anything going and finished solo fourth. 

MONDAY BACKSPIN

Russell Henley
There haven't been many tournaments in Henley's life where he's led the field in putting, but he did so this week, gaining more than 9.5 strokes on the field. It's almost unfathomable that one of the most accurate hitters on Tour couldn't win with such success on the greens. Henley actually had the lead on the back nine after a birdie on No. 15. But he bogeyed the final three holes, two of them because of all-time bad-luck lies. Next week's TPC Southwind is a demanding track well-suited for Henley's premier iron game.

Byeong Hun An
What a bounceback season for An, who had lost his card and had to play the Korn Ferry Tour. With his co-runner-up, he will enter the playoffs at No. 37 and is assured of a berth in the BMW Championship. An ranked top-10 in the field in both approach and putting and, like Henley, is a guy who could thrive at next week's demanding course.

Webb Simpson
Simpson won't be heading to the playoffs, but he retained his title of Mr. Wyndham, where he has excelled through the years and ultimately named his daughter after the tournament. His tie for fifth was just his second top-10 in almost two years, since the 2021 RSM. Simpson will be part of the Ryder Cup team -- as one of Johnson's five vice captains.

J.T. Poston
Poston is one of the hottest players going. He tied for seventh -- his fourth top-10 in five starts. He will head into the playoffs with incredible confidence. He's 45th in the standings and likely secure for the BMW.

Sam Burns
Burns quietly tied for 14th. He was never on the first page of the leaderboard, but it sends him to the playoffs feeling good about himself while also giving Johnson more to think about with his upcoming Ryder Cup captain's picks. Burns enters the playoffs in 19th place, making him a good bet to get to the Tour Championship.

Sungjae Im
Im tied for 14th for his best showing since the Wells Fargo in May. He has fallen outside the top 30 in points, so he will have work to do the next two weeks to get back to the Tour Championship.

Ludvig Aberg and Sam Bennett
The two recent college grads completed their first seasons in fine fashion, each tying for 14th. It's not known when we'll see them next -- surely in the fall season -- though Aberg might just be a captain's pick for the European Ryder Cup squad.

Eric Cole
Cole plays more than anyone else on Tour, almost every week. The past few times out, he hadn't had great finishes and was perhaps tiring at the end of his longest season. When he doubled the first hole Sunday, the wheels could've come off. But he steadied himself, rallied to tie for 14th and now heads into the playoffs at No. 40 and a certainty to reach the BMW. Cole just might win the Rookie of the Year award, even without a tournament victory.

Matt Kuchar
Kuchar tied for 38th. He knew before the tournament he would qualify for the playoffs, being in 59th place. With Scott failing to get in, Kuchar in the last remaining golfer to have qualified for every FedExCup Playoffs since their inception in 2007.

Scott Stallings
Stallings made it all the way to the Tour Championship last year but won't even make it to the playoffs this time around. He entered the week at 128th in the standings and tied for 62nd. But he does have his card through next season.

MISSED CUTS

Hideki Matsuyama, Denny McCarthy and Justin Suh are the names that jump out. … Matsuyama missed the cut by seven shots and heads into the playoffs at 57th in the standings and in real danger of being a one-and-done. … McCarthy's trunk-slam was a stunner, because he had been playing so well and this track was right up his alley. Maybe his iron game is not quite good enough yet, despite making such strides this season. … Suh was 4-under through eight holes on Thursday but couldn't sustain it and needed a good week to get inside the top 70. He played very well at times this season and it appeared he would break through. But he will now have to wait until the next campaign.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Len Hochberg
Len Hochberg has covered golf for RotoWire since 2013. A veteran sports journalist, he was an editor and reporter at The Washington Post for nine years. Len is a three-time winner of the FSWA DFS Writer of the Year Award (2020, '22 and '23) and a five-time nominee (2019-23). He is also a writer and editor for MLB Advanced Media.
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