Lucas Glover, a voracious reader of mystery novels and winner of the 2009 U.S. Open, was asked to put a title on the last time he was at Bethpage Black. That was an easy one. He said, “‘Survival of the Patient,’ I guess.”
He was the most patient on the Black that turbulent, rain-soaked June seven years ago and he left with the trophy. Glover has had to show plenty of patience ever since, through slumps, injuries and a divorce. But he went down to the Web.com Tour last year and got his PGA Tour card back, played well enough to make The Barclays and darned if he didn’t have one of those days again Thursday on the Black.
In his first competitive round on the course since the Monday finish on June 22, 2009, Glover held a share of the lead for a while and finished with a respectable 2-under-par 69. “I played 16 great holes of golf,” he said, acknowledging the double-bogey 5 on No. 8 (his 17th hole of the day) and bogey on No. 9. Otherwise, he was bogey-free and 5-under. In other words, it was much more than a walk down Memory Lane.
“I kind of did that Tuesday and Wednesday. Today was just: Play golf, play the course,” said the man who passed the time during 2009 rain delays by reading paperbacks.
A knee injury derailed his 2012 season, so he did not qualify for the FedExCup playoffs when they opened at Bethpage. (It was nonetheless a good year, he was remarried.) The course he saw Thursday was a much different one that he left, holding a trophy, in 2009. “Dry and pretty breezy. I never played the course in that type of wind. But it was good. The course is in great shape, fair and hard. Everything you’d expect here,” he said.
Glover was not all that far off from the pace with which he tied the course record with a 64 in 2009. Truth is, he loved the Black even in the 2002 U.S. Open, when he shot 11-over and missed the cut. Just looking at it, he said, makes you think, “That’s a U.S. Open, that’s a PGA, that’s a major.”
Plus, he always has loved New York, having spent several vacations in Manhattan. He is a longtime Yankees fan — “I liked them when they weren’t very good,” he points out — and got a congratulatory voice mail from Don Mattingly after he won the Open.
Not that any of those factors came into play Thursday. Or did they?
“I feel like I know the formula here: You’ve got to get it in the fairway, you’ve got to be smart into the greens,” he said, patiently. “It was a good day.”