Lucas Glover’s sizzling streak provides target, lesson in perseverance

Lucas Glover gave his fellow South Carolinians on the PGA Tour a target to aim for and athletes in any sport a lesson in the value of perseverance in the just-completed 2022-23 season.

Glover had missed the cut in the Travelers Championship in late June, the story of his year until then. He failed to play the weekend for the fifth time in his past seven starts and stood at 167 in the season-long FedEx Cup standings.

A streak to envy — two wins, a tie for fourth, a fifth and a tie for sixth in his next six tournaments — ensued.

“If you told me this three months ago, I’d tell you you’re crazy,” Glover told reporters after winning the FedEx St. Jude Championship, the first event in the PGA Tour’s playoffs and his second straight victory.

“But at the same time, if you asked me legitimately did I think I was capable, I’d say yes, even then. It’s just the way athletes are wired. We believe in ourselves no matter how bad it is.”

Solving his putting yips, a malady that had plagued him for years, led to the about-face.

The sizzling finish to his season made him easily the top performer among South Carolinians on the PGA Tour in 2022-23 and the only one from the Palmetto State contingent to start to 2024 with status in the high-profile “Signature” events.

Indeed, new Tour year will begin with a different look for state players. Depending on results from the Korn Ferry qualifying school finale, only seven will begin 2024 with full status.

Glover (Greenville/Clemson), who magical finish boosted him to a tie for 18th in the 2023 final standings, heads the list. Kevin Kisner (Aiken), who endured his worst Tour season, maintains his status thanks to his victory in the 2021 Wyndham Championship.

The others in the FedEx top 125: Matt NeSmith (Aiken/USC) at 72, Carson Young (Pendleton/Clemson) at 102, Ben Martin (Greenville/Clemson) at 117 and Andrew Novak (Mount Pleasant/Wofford) at 123.

Jacob Bridgeman (Inman/Clemson) earned full 2024 status by virtue of his finish in the top 30 in the Korn Ferry Tour finals.

State players who fell short of the top 125 include Doc Redman (Clemson) at 158, Ricky Werenski (Aiken) at 159, Wesley Bryan (Columbia/USC) at 186, Jonathan Byrd (Columbia/Clemson) at 189, William McGirt (Bluffton/Wofford) at 190, Bill Haas (Greenville) at 207, Tommy Gainey (Hartsville) at 209, D.J. Trahan (Mount Pleasant/Clemson) at 215, Kyle Stanley (Clemson) at 217 and Scott Brown (Aiken/USC Aiken) at 222.

Players who finished outside the top 125 and are not otherwise exempt will have the option of competing for five Tour cards in the final stage of the Korn Ferry’s qualifying school in December.

All of the state players below 150, except Redman, will be eligible for the former champion category, a low priority, if they do not achieve exempt status through the Korn Ferry Q-school.

In his flying finish, Glover, who joined the Tour in 2004 and just celebrated his 44th birthday, became only the third player in his 40s to win back-to-back weeks on the PGA Tour in the past 25 years. He joins Kenny Perry (2003) and Vijay Singh (three times, most recently in 2008) on the list.

“Whether you fighting something or playing great, you just work hard,” Glover said. “You never know when it can turn. And it turned very quickly for me.”

Chip shots. The three amateurs representing Clinton’s Musgrove Mill GC — Dillard Pruitt, Walter Todd and Doug Ramey — combined for a 2-over par 218 to win the SCGA’s Lathrop Cup at Columbia CC. In the pro-am competition, teams from Mid-Carolina Club and Holly Tree CC tied with a low two-ball score of 11-under-par 133. ... Richard Anaclerio (Aiken) won the boys’ 13-18 division title and Bridget Wilkie (Bluffton) took the girls’ title in the SCJGA’s Players Championship at Hartsville CC.