5 Things: Glover (62) regains form at John Deere
SILVIS, Ill. –– Defending champion Zach Johnson remained bogey-free Friday at the John Deere Classic, carding a 5-under 66 to remain atop the leaderboard. He's joined by Patrick Reed and Lucas Glover, who shot 63 and 62, respectively, to grab a share of the lead at TPC Deere Run.
Here are 5 Things you need to know from Friday's second-round action:
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1. A LITTLE REMINDER: Lucas Glover was packing up his locker after a missed cut at the Northern Trust Open last February when a multiple major winner gave him a good word.
“Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves that we were pretty darned good at one time,” the player said. “It’s not that hard to get back.”
Glover didn’t want to reveal the name of the player, saying it was private, but the moment had great impact on the oft-struggling Southerner. His 2013 results are dizzying in their contrast. Glover has played in 18 events so far, missing half the cuts. Sprinkled in are a pair of T-4 finishes, at the Honda Classic and Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
“You know, I've been hitting the ball as well as I hit it in say, '09 the last six, seven weeks,” said Glover, winner of the 2009 U.S. Open. “I just haven't been making any putts,
Glover didn’t commit to the John Deere Classic until last Friday, when his wife mentioned he ought to go after missing the cut at the Greenbrier. Glover admitted to feeling the same and made the call.
When he arrived at TPC Deere Run, Glover got to work, spending a great deal of time on the practice green working on his alignment. His efforts paid off. On Thursday, Glover opened with a 3-under 68 and was “ecstatic.”
“You can imagine how I feel today,” said Glover, moments after polishing off a 63. He sits tied for the lead at 12 under with crowd favorite Zach Johnson and Patrick Reed.
Glover, a thoughtful man who speaks slowly enough for everyone to follow, had interesting things to say about what to do when your game goes south.
“If you know what’s wrong, it’s best to work on it,” he said. “If you’re lost, it’s best to get away.”
This week is an example of the former. Last season – when he took time off from August until near December – was an example of the latter.
Glover said the only other time his wife has suggested he play an event he had planned to take off was earlier this year in New Orleans, where he tied for fourth.
“I don't know, maybe she's got mind tricks over me or something,” Glover said with a laugh. “More so than usual.”
As for the advice given to him by that mystery major winner, Glover said he’s lucky to be able to remind himself that he once won a major, though he often forgets.
“That’s not a bragging statement,” he said, “that’s a searching for confidence statement.”
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2. HOME COOKIN’: The Quad Cities crazies must like what they see on the board at the John Deere Classic. Iowa’s own Johnson posted his 18th consecutive round in the 60s at TPC Deere run to share the lead with Glover and Reed. Johnson, who serves on the tournament’s Board of Directors, won last year’s Deere in a playoff.
“My short game was tremendous,” said Johnson, who called today’s round “a hard 66” due to errant drives. “I like the fact that I don't have to be perfect and I can still play here.”
A native of Cedar Rapids, Johnson considers the Deere his personal fifth major with a host of familiar faces in the crowd. Johnson, 37, can pick out the voices of his parents when he plays. He can also hear his father-in-law’s chant and his wife’s sneeze.
As Johnson nestled a 75-foot putt within three feet on the 18th hole, the sun glistened off a John Deere tractor floating in the nearby pond. Johnson knocked in his par putt to finish on a positive note. The same can’t be said, however, for playing partner Steve Stricker.
The three-time Deere champion couldn’t get past a ball-mark in the line of his closing par putt – just shy of 3 feet – and a poor stroke cost him a shot. The closing bogey dropped Stricker to 9 under, though no one has any real concerns about his standing. The Illinois grad has won over $2.7 million at this event.
“I was looking to make a birdie there and get within one, and instead I'm three back now,” said Stricker, who now plays on a limited schedule. “It’s three weeks since I've last played, so it's always kind of a learning process that I'm going through. . . . I'm getting a little more confidence each and every day.”
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3. THERE'S NO 'I' IN REED: Patrick Reed used the personal pronoun “we” so often when talking about his 8-under 63 one might mistake the John Deere Classic for a four-ball tournament. The “team” Reed refers to: Mr. and Mrs. Reed. Wife Justine doesn’t just carry the bag for her Tour rookie, she reads the wind and the greens, picks most of her hubby’s clubs and, back when he was a serial Monday qualifier, drove him to events so he could rest.
“She's just as much a competitor as I am,” Patrick said. “She's out there working just as hard if not harder than I am.”
He even lists the words of his wife under the “favorite quote” category in the media guide: "Nerves just mean you're prepared."
She likely also serves as part psychologist.
Reed, who ranks first so far this week in the all-important strokes gained putting category, switched from Nike to Callaway at the HP Byron Nelson Classic in May and has made five of his last six cuts, including a fifth at the FedEx St. Jude Classic and a tie for 18th at the Travelers.
How long will Reed keep his wife employed?
“I mean, you're going to see us basically forever, until we decide to have a family,” Reed said. “And at that point, she'll be off the bag maybe for I'd say three, four months, and then she'll be back on.”
And then he laughed.
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4. SCRAMBLIN' MAN: Matt Bettencourt is playing in this week’s John Deere Classic because he answered the call. While sitting on a plane (doors closed) Wednesday morning bound for Salt Lake City, Bettencourt’s cell phone rang. It was the PGA Tour, calling to say he was the last man to get into the field. Bettencourt was in Atlanta, headed for this week’s Web.com event in Sandy, Utah, when he got the news. He and his caddie had left home in Greenville at 4:30 a.m. to fly out of Atlanta. The flight attendant standing 6 feet away rushed to his side.
“He came over and was like, whoa, what are you doing?” Bettencourt said.
Luckily the flight attendant happened to be a golfer, and confessed that even the captains keep their cell phones on. Too late to get off the plane, Bettencourt flew to Salt Lake and then shopped around for a flight to Moline, Ill. With nothing available, he and his caddie flew to Chicago and then drove to Moline, checking into a hotel at 11:15 p.m.
Bettencourt opened the John Deere with a 65 but ballooned on the back nine Friday, shooting 40. He’s tied for 54th at 4 under.
This is Bettencourt’s fifth appearance at the Deere. His previous best finish a tie for 39th in 2009.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Steven Ihm had a nice gathering of fans on the first tee Friday at TPC Deere Run. It was Illini Day at the Deere, but that didn’t stop the Iowa faithful from showing their amateur some love. Ihm (pronounced I’m), is believed the be the first University of Iowa player to receive an exemption into this event. Ihm shot 71-69 to miss the cut by two. . . . Two players notched aces in the same round for only the second time in the the 43-year history of the event. Darren Stiles recorded the 10th ace of his career with a 7-iron from 185 yards on the seventh hole. Troy Matteson knocked in a wedge from 132 yards on No. 3. John Rollins and Greg Chalmers both made holes-in-ones on No. 7 in the final round of 2004.