Glover has one-shot lead at opener

Updated: January 7, 2010, 10:43 PM ET
Associated Press

KAPALUA, Hawaii -- U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover returned to Kapalua and had another miserable start to the first round of a new PGA Tour season. The difference Thursday was how he finished.

Glover recovered from a double bogey on his opening hole by going 9-under par over a nine-hole stretch in the middle of his round. He finished it off with a tap-in birdie for a 7-under 66 on Thursday and a one-shot lead in the season-opening SBS Championship.

The last time he qualified for this winners-only tournament, Glover began his season with four straight bogeys. This time, he hit a weak 4-iron that disappeared into the native shrubs and led to a double bogey.

"I was aiming 25 feet left of the hole and hit it 25 feet to the right," he said. "I got what I deserved."

He made up for it in a big way.

Glover, who made only two eagles in 26 tournaments last year, made two in a five-hole stretch on the Plantation Course at Kapalua that turned his fortunes quickly. He then made four straight birdies to open the back nine, and took the outright lead with a pitch from just short of the 18th green that trickled to inside a foot from the cup.

Nathan Green of Australia and Martin Laird of Scotland, among seven players making their debuts at Kapalua, joined Dustin Johnson and Nick Watson at 67. British Open champion Stewart Cink and Masters champion Angel Cabrera were among those at 68.

Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy had a 69.

[+] EnlargeLucas Glover
Stan Badz/PGA TOUR/Getty Images Lucas Glover made four straight birdies to open the back nine, and took the outright lead with a pitch from just short of the 18th green that trickled to inside a foot from the cup.

The wind finally switched to its normal direction -- the trades -- and it was mild enough to make scoring relatively easy. Heath Slocum (75) and Mark Wilson (74) were the only players over par in the 28-man field.

The key to Glover's success last year, when he won the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, was to not be so hard on himself. He was tested immediately with his double bogey, and it didn't bother him in the least.

"I knew there were a lot of birdies," he said. "I saw some scores early and I knew guys were making birdies, and if I played well, I could get something going. So just don't rush anything. Be patient."

The birdies and eagles came quickly.

It started with a 6-iron to the par-5 fifth to 18 feet for eagle, followed by a drive down the hill to the front of the sixth green for a simple up-and-down for birdie. Then came a 3-wood into 30 feet on the par-5 ninth, and the longest putt of his round, a 35-footer across the 11th green for a birdie.

And it could have been even better.

His birdie streak on the back nine ended at the 14th, where he drove to the front of the green. He chipped weakly to 8 feet and missed the putt. On the next hole, Glover missed a 3-foot birdie putt, and he three-putted from about 15 feet above the hole on the 16th.

It still added to a 66, and Glover felt as though he played that well.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press