Golf roundup: Lucas Glover wins PGA Tour postseason opener in playoff for second straight victory

AP photo by George Walker IV / Lucas Glover, right, shakes hands with Patrick Cantlay on the 18th green at TPC Southwind after Glover won the FedEx St. Jude Championship in a playoff Sunday in Memphis. It was the opening event of the PGA Tour's postseason and Glover's second straight victory.
AP photo by George Walker IV / Lucas Glover, right, shakes hands with Patrick Cantlay on the 18th green at TPC Southwind after Glover won the FedEx St. Jude Championship in a playoff Sunday in Memphis. It was the opening event of the PGA Tour's postseason and Glover's second straight victory.

MEMPHIS — Lucas Glover made three big putts just to stay in the game, then hit the most important shot — on dry land in a playoff — to beat Patrick Cantlay on the first extra hole and win the FedEx St. Jude Championship on Sunday for his second straight PGA Tour victory.

And so the amazing run continues for the 43-year-old American, who two weeks ago was No. 112 in the FedEx Cup standings and preparing for an early end to his season. Now he is assured of a spot in the FedEx Cup finale at Atlanta's East Lake Golf Club in two weeks and perhaps consideration for next month's Ryder Cup.

Glover made a 20-foot par putt, a 30-foot bogey putt and a 12-foot par putt over the final six holes to close with a 1-under-par 69 and force a playoff with Cantlay, who surged into contention with a 64 at TPC Southwind. They finished 72 holes of regulation play at 15-under 265.

The playoff effectively ended with one shot. Cantlay hit a 3-wood that was about a foot from being perfect. Instead, it hopped down the bank and into the water. Glover found the fairway and two-putted for par. Cantlay took a penalty drop, and his 20-foot par putt just slid by the right edge.

Glover becomes only the third player in his 40s to win back-to-back weeks on the PGA Tour in the last 25 years, joining Kenny Perry (2003) and Vijay Singh, who did it three times, most recently in the FedEx Cup playoffs in 2008.

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

Glover goes to No. 4 in the FedEx Cup standings after being No. 49 entering the PGA Tour playoffs and has made just short of $5 million in the last two weeks.

As for the Ryder Cup? Glover would need to win the BMW Championship, which starts Thursday near Chicago with a field of postseason contenders cut from 70 to 50, to have any chance of earning one of six automatic spots for that next month. But two straight wins, and a now reliable putter, surely has the attention of U.S. captain Zach Johnson and how to use his six wild-card picks.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy birdied the last hole for a 65 and tied for third with England's Tommy Fleetwood (68), who had a birdie chance on the 18th to join the playoff.

Stephan Jaeger (69) tied for 20th at 8 under in the best finish among three Baylor School graduates in the tournament. Keith Mitchell (66) tied for 43rd at 4 under, while Harris English (67) shared 52nd at 2 under.

  photo  AP photo by George Walker IV / Lucas Glover hits from the fairway to the 18th green at TPC Southwind during the final round of the PGA Tour's FedEx St. Jude Championship on Sunday in Memphis.
 
 

LIV: Smith cruises as Mickelson melts down

BEDMINSTER, N.J. — Longtime PGA Tour star Phil Mickelson's bid for his first LIV Golf League victory ended early and spectacularly in the final round at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster. Cameron Smith, meanwhile, rarely made winning look so easy.

Mickelson, playing in the final group for the first time since joining the Saudi-funded circuit when it debuted last year, hit two tee shots in the water and made a quintuple-bogey 8 on the par-3 seventh hole, effectively ending his hopes.

Smith, who had two early bogeys that dropped his lead to three shots over Mickelson at the time, closed with five birdies and a clean card the rest of the way for a 3-under 68, finishing the 54-hole event at 12-under 201 for a seven-shot victory over India's Anibran Lahiri (70). Patrick Reed (71), Mexico's Abraham Ancer (69) and South Africa's Dean Burmester (72) tied for third at 4 under.

Smith won for the second time in three LIV Golf events, and his Ripper GC won the team competition by 11 shots. The 29-year-old Australian, whose 2022 British Open triumph was one of his PGA Tour victories, took over the LIV points race in his attempt to win the $18 million bonus at the end of the season.

"That was the goal since the start of the year, to be up with a shot at it," Smith said. "Got a couple of weeks left."

LIV is off for the next five weeks until returning Sept. 22-24 near Chicago, with the final event of individual competition in mid-October in Saudia Arabia. A team even closes the schedule a week later in Miami. Smith earned $4 million for the win, raising his total to just more than $13.6 million for the year.

Mickelson ended an attention-filled week with a 75 and tied for ninth, his first top-10 finish of the season.

The day before the tournament began, an excerpt from gambler Billy Walters' upcoming book was released that claimed Mickelson placed more than $1 billion in bets over the past 30 years and asked Walters to bet $400,000 on the U.S. team — which included Mickelson — to win the 2012 Ryder Cup. The six-time major champion, a World Golf Hall of Famer, released a statement in response saying he never placed a bet on the Ryder Cup.

  photo  LIV Golf photo by Charles Laberge via AP / Cameron Smith plays an approach shot on the 18th fairway at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster during the final round of Sunday's LIV Golf League tournament at the New Jersey course.
 
 

Vu wins Women's British Open for second major

WALTON-ON-THE-HILL, England — Lilia Vu won the Women's British Open to earn her second major title of 2023, taking any potential drama out of the final round by shooting a 5-under 67 for a six-stroke victory at 14-under 274 in the 72-hole event.

The 25-year-old Californian, who also won the Chevron Championship in April, became the first female player to win two majors in the same year since South Korea's Jin Young Ko in 2019, and the first American woman since Juli Inkster in 1999. Three of the five women's majors have been won by Americans this year — Allisen Corpuz won the Women's U.S. Open — which had not happened since 2014.

Vu began the final round tied for the lead with England's Charley Hull, with 11 players within five shots of them. After 10 holes, Vu led by five as all of her rivals faltered and the American stayed out of trouble at Walton Heath. Hull holed out from a greenside bunker for eagle at the par-5 11th to trim the lead to three shots, but Vu responded with a tap-in birdie at No. 12 and was never threatened down the stretch.

Vu walked down No. 18 leading by five and was already smiling before her long, snaking birdie putt dropped into the cup. She was soon being drenched in champagne by fellow players.

Hull, passionately backed at a course near to where she grew up, closed with a 73 and was runner-up for the second time in the last three majors.

The win completed a stunning breakthrough season for Vu, whose three LPGA Tour titles have come in 2023, and on Monday, she'll be ranked No. 1 in the world for the first time.

"It sounds almost unreal," Vu said.


Ames is eagle-eyed in final round

SNOQUALMIE, Wash. — Stephen Ames opened and closed with eagles during the final round for a runaway victory in the Boeing Classic, his fourth PGA Tour Champions win of the season.

The 59-year-old naturalized Canadian citizen from Trinidad and Tobago shot a 9-under 63 at Snoqualmie Ridge for a seven-stroke victory over Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez, who won the tournament last year. Jimenez, also 59, closed with a 69.

"Just kind of freewheeling it a little bit," Ames said after playing the final five holes in 6 under. "I hit the shots that I needed to hit coming down the end, and everything just clicked."

Ames matched the tournament's record at 19-under 297 after opening with consecutive 67s to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the 54-hole event.

South Korea's K.J. Choi (65) and New Zealand's Steven Alker (71) tied for third at 10 under. Germany's Bernhard Langer, the all-time wins leader on the senior circuit, had a 69 to tie for fifth at 8 under with Australia's Stuart Appleby (65) and South Afria's Keith Horne (66).

Ames started fast Sunday with the eagle on the par-5 first, added a birdie on No. 6 and reeled off four straight birdies on Nos. 14-17 before capping the victory with a four-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th.

Ames has six career victories on the 50-and-older tour, this year winning the Trophy Hassan II in February, the Mitsubishi Electric Classic in May and the Principal Charity Classic in June. Steve Stricker leads the tour with five victories this season.


She's the top Tiger

LOS ANGELES — Megan Schofill won the U.S. Women's Amateur at Bel-Air Country Club, beating Latanna Stone 4 and 3 in a 36-hole final between Southeastern Conference golfers whose school mascot is a Tiger.

The 22-year-old Schofill, from Monticello, Florida, is a graduate student entering her fifth season at Auburn University. The 21-year-old Stone, from Riverview, Florida, is entering her fifth year at LSU.

Schofill had a 3-up lead after the first 18 holes, winning Nos. 15-17. After Stone won the par-4 24th with a birdie, Schofill took the par-4 25th and par-5 26th with birdies for a 4-up advantage.

They halved the next five holes with pars, Stone won the par-5 32nd, and the match ended on the par-4 33rd when Stone's five-foot par putt lipped out.

The finalists earned spots in the 2024 U.S. Women's Open at Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania, with Stone needing to remain an amateur to be eligible.