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Sedgefield Stalwarts Set for Sunday Battle With the Season on the Line

Lucas Glover’s earliest memories of Sedgefield Country Club centered around the high dive at the swimming pool, not the Donald Ross gem he went low at on Saturday in the third round of the Wyndham Championship.

Glover and his family would frequently make the three-hour drive up I-85 from Greenville, South Carolina, to Greensboro to visit relatives. His uncles were members at Sedgefield and before golf commanded Glover’s full attention, spiraling off that diving board was the main event.

“It’s a special place,” he said. “I came up here in the summer when I was 7, 8, 9, 10 years old. … It was cool. They had a high dive, so it was fun. I’ve played a bunch around here. Bent greens. Bermuda greens. When they didn’t have a tournament. When they did. I just enjoy it.”

Glover, who is playing in his 19th Wyndham Championship this week, got plenty of satisfaction from his round of 62 on Saturday, too. It was the lowest of the day and left him tied for the lead at 18 under with Billy Horschel (63) and one stroke ahead of Russell Henley entering the final round.

As they attempt to win on Sunday, Glover for the fifth time and Horschel for the eighth, both men have another goal in mind. They are battling to move into the top 70 in the FedExCup so they can tee it up in next week’s FedEx St. Jude Championship, the first Playoffs event.

Win and they’re in. Second place could clinch a spot, too; maybe even a two-way tie for second when all the calculations are done, and points are added up. But the mindset remains the same.

Glover and Horschel know they’ll have to go low on Sunday. So does anyone hoping to overtake the leaders like Tom Kim did a year ago when he fired a 61 to come from two strokes off the pace and win by five.

Sedgefield, which was designed by Ross in 1926, has a history of being generous to the PGA TOUR’s best. In addition to Kim’s round of 9 under and that 59 Brandt Snedeker shot in 2018, there have been 13 other scores of 61 or better since the Wyndham Championship moved back to Sedgefield in 2008.

No other TOUR event has yielded that many sub-62 rounds during that same time frame.

“You’re going to get lapped if you’re just playing for par out here,” said Henley, who held the third-round lead in 2021 but faltered on the back nine and ended up tying for seventh.

Byeong Hun An, who shot 65 on Saturday and stands 15 under through three rounds, agreed. “There will be a lot of people making birdies out there,” he predicted. “I just need to get a fast start and keep my foot on the pedal.”

Sedgefield isn’t outrageously long but the Bermuda rough places a premium on hitting fairways, and confidence on the crowned Ross greens will be key to gaining momentum on Sunday. The combination is something with which Glover is very comfortable.

“I grew up putting on a lot of Bermuda greens, I seem to read the greens pretty well,” said Glover, who owns one of those 61s. “ I think I’m OK laying back off the tees a lot to make sure I’m in the fairway. When my irons are sharp, I seem to be able to make a lot of birdies.

“I think you try to attack this place a little too aggressive and miss some fairways, it can bite you. I learned that quite a while ago. I think it’s just a ‘fairways first’ mentality, and then if you get some good numbers and hit it close, you’ve got a good chance to make some birdies.”

Horschel has finished in the top 10 in three of the last six Wyndham Championships. He nearly took the Sam Snead Trophy in 2020 but Jim Herman shot a final-round 63 to Horschel’s 65 and won by a shot. So the 2014 FedExCup champ knows what’s at stake on Sunday.

The 36-year-old Floridian is looking to extend his Playoffs streak to 11 straight. He switched to an Odyssey putter this week for a little different look, and the move has paid dividends – he ranks first in Strokes Gained: Putting, gaining 9.004 on the field.

“The big thing for me is feeling comfortable over my setup,” Horschel said. “If I feel comfortable, I feel like I can make anything. The biggest key, I felt like a lot of — my putter for the last month has been aiming left of where I want it to be.

“So, this putter right now feels like it’s a little more open, sits a little more open for me, which it’s matching up my line and my feels, so I just feel very comfortable with it right now.”

While Glover and Horschel came to Greensboro well outside the top 70 at Nos. 112 and 116, respectively, Justin Thomas was tantalizingly close at No. 79. He’s currently tied for 11th and likely needs at least a tie for seventh to advance into the Playoffs for the 10th straight year.

The 2017 FedExCup champion is also playing in Greensboro for just the fourth time, and first since 2016, to impress U.S. Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson.

“It’s nerve wracking, but it’s a different kind of nerves,” Thomas said. “I mean, it’s a lot harder than trying to win a golf tournament in my opinion. I think when you’re trying to win a tournament you’re there and if you don’t win it’s a bummer, but you still had a great week kind of thing.

“If I just don’t get it done for what I need to get done this week, then it sucks and my year’s over.”

And keeping those nerves in check on Sunday will be key for anyone with designs on those 500 FedExCup points, the $1.368 million first prize and that shiny silver-loving cup.

Source : PGA Tour