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Glover goes low again, leads FedEx Cup opener by one stroke

Lucas Glover Lucas Glover - The Canadian Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Lucas Glover got enough out of his round Saturday for a 4-under 66, giving him a one-shot lead going into the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship and a chance to lock up a spot in the Tour Championship.

Glover posted a 66 or lower for the sixth time in his last seven rounds, three of those last week when he won the Wyndham Championship to go from No. 112 in the FedEx Cup and well into the top 70 who reached the PGA Tour's post-season.

Taylor Moore, who won his first PGA Tour title earlier this year at the Valspar Championship, bogeyed his final hole for a 65 and was one shot behind.

Glover was at 14-under 196 and while he has a slim lead over Moore, he at least created a little separation. There were 16 players within four shots of the lead at the start of another steamy day at the TPC Southwind. Now, only four players are within three shots.

Tommy Fleetwood had a 66 as he goes after his first win on American soil. He was two behind. Max Homa ran off three straight birdies on the back nine for a 65, while Jordan Spieth had to settle for a 68. They were both three back at 11-under 199.

Rory McIlroy (68) and Patrick Cantlay (66) were among those five shots behind.

Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., is tied for 12th at 8 under, while Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., is tied for 23rd at 6 under. Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., is tied for 32nd at 5 under, and Nick Taylor of Abbotsford is tied for 42nd at 3 under.

Mackenzie Hughes of Hamilton, Ont., is tied for 55th at even par.

Glover, who chipped in for birdie on the opening hole and made an 18-foot birdie putt look easy on the next, had only one wobble. He missed the fifth green to the right in clumpy, wet grass and couldn't get that close enough for par.

But his expectations are such that he was frustrated when he finished, having missed a 4-foot birdie on the par-5 16th and a missing a sharp-breaking 6-footer for birdie on the last.

That's the state of his game — a 66 that left him thinking only about what when wrong. He referred to his game as “scrappy” and at times suggested removing the “s.” He later mentioned a round of “smoke and mirrors.”

“Three months ago if I’d have been mad at 66 or if you told me I’d be mad at 66, I’d say you were crazy,” Glover said.

All that is a product of remarkable form, sparked by his change to a long putter that has revived the career for a 43-year-old former U.S. Open champion.

Glover now has shot in the 60s in 20 of his last 21 rounds. He flirted with contention for three straight week shortly before winning, and he doubts he would have won without having felt the Sunday nerves in those previous events.

Now his confidence is soaring, and opportunities abound. Glover is No. 49 in the FedEx Cup. The top 50 advance to the BMW Championship next week, but the playoff opener is a chance to secure a spot in the top 30 for the Tour Championship.

For now, the goal for so many is simply getting to Chicago next week. Hideki Matsuyama at No. 57 wasted a good start. He shot 30 on the front nine, only to follow with a 40. All that work turned into a round of even par and no ground made up.

Mackenzie Hughes of Canada was in good shape until a 75 on Saturday, which projects him just outside the top 50 going into the final round. The top 50 is key because those players are assured spots in all the $20 million signature events next year.

Closer to the top, Glover figures to have his hands full.

Moore birdied three of the par 3s and was tied for the lead on two occasions on the back nine until poor drives led to bogeys. Fleetwood had three birdies over his last five holes. Homa didn't made a birdie until the ninth hole, and then felt as though he couldn't miss. He ran off three straight birdies late in his round and shot 31 on the back.

Spieth stayed close with a pair of birdies early on the back nine and had plenty of other putts burn the edge. He began the post-season at No. 31 and has plenty at stake on Sunday, for the FedEx Cup and possibly securing one of the six automatic spots for the Ryder Cup.


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