Lucas Glover sank a 4-foot par putt on the 72nd hole of the rain-filled U.S. Open at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in Farmingdale, N.Y., to capture his first major championship title.
Glover, a Greenville, S.C., native and past USA Walker Cup Team member, shot three over par in the final round but birdied the par-4 16th — his only birdie of the round — to stretch his lead to two strokes over runners-up Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Ricky Barnes.
“I knew I needed a birdie on 16,” said Glover of wanting to create some breathing room.
The 29-year-old, who went through sectional qualifying to earn a spot in the championship, opened with rounds of 69 and 64, sitting in second behind Barnes through two rounds. He found trouble in the third round when he went four over par during a three-hole stretch (Nos. 6-8), but the always-serious Glover held it together, finishing the back nine at three under par to shoot even-par 70 and remain in second.
“I’ve never been [in contention] in a major,” said Glover, who had not made a cut in three previous U.S. Opens and had never finished better than 20th in a major. “And maybe that was motivation for me to prove it to myself that I did belong.”
Barnes followed a first-round 67 with a 65 to post the lowest 36-hole total in U.S. Open history. He looked to be running away with the title in the third round when he eagled the par-5 fourth to move to 11 under, becoming only the fourth player ever to reach a doubledigit under par score at a U.S. Open. But he slowly spiraled back to the pack and, by the end of 54 holes, the 28-year-old PGA Tour rookie held a one-shot lead over Glover, which quickly disappeared with a bogey 5 at the first hole of the fourth round.
“It was a great week,” Barnes said. “If you told me I would have been two under, if you would have told me I was second, bridesmaid isn’t too bad. But when you know you’re right there, it’s a tough one to swallow. But I would say a lot, lot more good came out of this week than bad.”
It was a week of stops and starts as inclement weather saturated the 7,426-yard layout — the second-longest course in Open history — and delayed the final round to force just the third Monday regulation finish ever. Barnes, Duval, Glover and Mickelson all emerged from Thursday’s afternoon wave, which actually began play on Friday because play was suspended Thursday after a little more than three hours of golf. By the championship’s end, only one of the top eight finishers, Tiger Woods, came from Thursday’s “unlucky” side of the draw. Woods tied for sixth.
Mickelson had charged to the top of the leaderboard in the final round with a birdie at No. 12 and an eagle at 13 but bogeys at 15 and 17 ended his chance for his first U.S. Open title. It was his record fifth runner-up U.S. Open finish (1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009).
Duval, ranked No. 882 in the Official World Golf Ranking, made a run of his own, carding three consecutive birdies from No. 14 but bogeying the 17th. It was his first top-10 finish since 2002.
“I stand before you certainly happy with how I played, but extremely disappointed in the outcome,” said Duval. “I had no question in my mind I was going to win the golf tournament today.”
In the end it was Glover who held on.
“It’s an honor to be on the trophy with names such as that,” said Glover, referring to the golfing greats whose names appear on the U.S. Open Trophy. “I hope I don’t downgrade it or anything with my name on there. It’s an honor, and I’m just excited and happy as I can be to be on here.”
Starts - 12
Best Finish - Winner 2000, 2002, 2008
Rds - 51
Cuts Made - 12
Top 3 - 6
Top 5 - 6
Top 10 - 6
Top 25 - 11
Scores in 60s - 15
Rds Under Par - 16
Earnings - $4,988,257.10