5 Things: Glover's lead grows to 2 shots
AVONDALE, La. Lucas Glover, the 36-hole leader at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, had a good news, bad news type of day. The good news? He maintained sole possession of the lead and extended it from one stroke to two strokes.
“So, can’t be too upset,” he said.
Nor was Glover too disappointed that he squandered an opportunity to open up a significant lead with bogeys on both of the par 3s on the back nine. Glover also missed a 10-foot eagle putt at the last but tapped in for 2-under 70 and a total of 14-under 202. He figures scoring will be low again in the final round.
“I’ve got a big bull’s-eye on my back,” he said, “so they’re going to be guns-a-blazing, and I’m going to have to do the same.”
Here are 5 Things You Need to Know:
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1. Glover's expecting a baby: Let’s hope the future Lucille Glover can wait at least another day before she arrives into the world kicking and screaming. Glover said he and wife Krista are expecting a baby girl any day now.
“She’s over 37 weeks,” Glover said, noting the due date is May 16.
Glover also said his caddie, Don Cooper, would be checking his cellphone for a text message.
“I made her promise she’ll call whenever and I’ll leave whenever,” he said.
Glover said his agent and friend, Mac Barnhardt, is the first call if in fact she goes into labor before he gets home.
“But if it happens, I’m outta here,” he reiterated.
Glover said he hadn’t planned on playing here, and didn’t commit to the tournament until a day before last week’s Friday deadline. After a first-round 70 at the RBC Heritage Classic, his wife said to him, “You’re playing well, and I know you’re not going to want to leave when the baby comes, so why don’t you go play?”
Glover is glad he did. He goes to sleep on a 54-hole lead for just the second time in his career. He’ll try not to think about the previous occasion, at the 2010 Hyundai Tournament of Champions, in which he shot 76 and finished T-14. But Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion who is seeking his fourth Tour title, instead said he will draw on memories of past successes when he had a shot to win Sunday.
“There’s one similarity every time,” Glover said. “It’s never easy. I’ll say that. The similarities, you know, you’re nervous all the time for each one. But tonight I’ll think about the times I’ve been in the last group or been in contention, I’ve done well. The last group for the last 36 holes at the U.S. Open – that’s about as much pressure as you can get, and I executed to a pretty high level there. So that will be in my mind tonight and in the morning.”
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2. Horschel says it’s time to win: If it seems like Billy Horschel has been on the verge of winning his first Tour title every week, you’re right. His smile when asked if he’s ready to break through with his first victory says more than his words, but here’s what he had to say: “I’ve felt like that for a while now. I’m trying not to think too much about that. Do I think my time is coming? Sure.
"Did I want to win earlier? Yeah. I just have to keep trying to play well,” he said.
That hasn’t been a problem of late. Horschel birdied three of the last four holes Saturday to card a 66 and join the four-way tie at 12 under. Horschel is bidding for a fourth consecutive top-10 finish, but his sights are set on the winner's circle. Horschel finished second, a stroke outside of a playoff at the Shell Houston Open. He held the 54-hole lead a week later at the Valero Texas Open, only to be trumped by Martin Laird’s closing 63. Horschel said he is looking forward to being in the pursuer's role this time.
“If you look at my college wins, I think there’s only one event where I led going into the final round and that was (in the Southeastern Conference finals) my senior year. I remember shooting 63 my sophomore year to win somewhere, and a lot of my other tournaments I came back to win. I think it’s just a little more focus in knowing that I have to go chase somebody,” he said.
Horschel can remember stretches as an amateur and a collegian at Florida when he stepped to the tee and just knew he’d be a factor in the tournament. Horschel, never one to be short of confidence, said he has reached that mindset on Tour.
“No matter where my game is going into the tournament coming up on Thursday, I know I can play well no matter how bad or how good it is,” he said. “Out here on this stage with this pressure, I think this is obviously my best stretch, and I don’t think it’s going to stop any time soon.”
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3. Will the stars finally align for Jimmy Walker? Any list of the best players on Tour without a victory has to include Jimmy Walker. He’d be on this writer’s short list. Walker began working with instructor Butch Harmon after the PGA Championship last year, with hopes of making the next step in his career. A superb short game and just 24 putts helped Walker tour TPC Louisiana in 66 and climb into a four-way tie for second. Could this be Walker’s week? His final-round scoring average of 68.6 this season suggests he’ll be in the mix on the back nine Sunday.
On the course, the 2004 Web.com Tour Player of the Year is finally fulfilling his potential as a rising star.
“I’m close,” he said. “I won on the Web.com Tour, won on every other tour and it’s just a progression.”
And while he hasn’t been a shooting star, Walker often can be found gazing at them. Walker likes nothing more than spending a night in dark, clear skies photographing galaxies far, far away.
It’s a hobby that dates back to childhood when Walker would stare at the stars, moon and planets. About four years ago, he bought a telescope for the backyard, but was disappointed with the results. So he invested in a telescopic camera and started driving to darker spots, where he would stay up all night shooting stars such as the Horsehead Nebula and the Sword of Orion.
Last summer, he took his passion for astrophotography to another level and invested in better equipment that he stores at a remote facility. From his home desktop or using his iPhone on the road, Walker can monitor his telescopic camera perched at 7,300 feet in New Mexico at a facility in the Sacramento Mountains north of El Paso. The digital images download overnight.
“There's so much cool stuff out there,” he said. “I haven't even really scratched the surface yet.”
Perhaps tomorrow his star will rise to new heights.
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4. Points on point with Mom’s putter again: A putting lesson and switching to a Ping putter he borrowed from his mom years ago contributed to D.A. Points winning the Shell Houston Open earlier this month. Good luck prying the club out of his bag now. But another session this week with Lamar University coach Brian White might deserve the bulk of the credit for Points’ confident stroke at the Zurich Classic.
“It's funny. I hadn't seen (White) since Houston, and he came and visited with me this week,” Points said. “He lives in Beaumont, Texas, which isn't too far, and he came out and saw a couple of other guys. He said, ‘Oh, I see this. I see that.’ And just a couple little tweaks, and it's right back on track again.”
They spent time together on the practice putting green Wednesday and Thursday after Points’ round. As for the tweaks here and there, care to elaborate, D.A.?
“My right hip was getting a little high at address,” he said. “And also, when I was trying to take the putter back, I was doing a little too much with my hands and my wrists as opposed to still picking it up and trying to do a little bit more with my arms.”
Consider it a success. Points ranks 10th in strokes gained-putting this week, a vast improvement from T-144, his current ranking in 2013.
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5. Short shots: Fourteen-year-old Tianlang Guan shot a 5-over 77. He made a triple bogey on the par-4 sixth hole. . . . Kevin Stadler shot a front-nine 30 on his way to a 65 and improved to sixth at 11 under. “It was there for the taking,” he said. . . . Kyle Stanley matched Stadler’s 65 to vault into a tie for second. “Not a lot of wind,” Stanley said, “so you could pretty much take dead aim and hit at a lot of pins.”. . . . Tee times for the final round were moved up to begin at 7 a.m. local time, with threesomes teeing off from Nos. 1 and 10. Officials decided to make the change in case heavy rains move into the area later in the day. . . . Glover has yet to three-putt his week. The last time he played all 72 holes without a three-putt was during the 2011 Wells Fargo Championship, which happens to be the last time he won. In each of the last four years, the 54-hole leader/co-leader of the Zurich Classic has gone on to victory.