AVONDALE, La. (AP) – Lucas Glover smoothly rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt on his final hole Friday, giving him the outright lead in the Zurich Classic – and showing he has regained his touch on the greens.
Distancing himself from the putting problems that sabotaged good ball-striking rounds, Glover shot a 5-under 67 to reach 12 under and take a one-stroke lead over Boo Weekley.
“I’ve been hitting it good for a couple months and finally started making some putts,” said Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open winner who won the last of his three PGA Tour titles in 2011. “I mean, I was hitting it as good as I can hit it. But at the same time, if you putt poorly. …”
Weekley had a 68. He holed out with a wedge from 105 yards for an eagle on the par-4 10th, his first hole in the second round at TPC Louisiana.
“I couldn’t tell it went in because it’s got a little bit of an upper lip in the front of it,” Weekley said. “I saw it bounce, and then I didn’t see it no more. Then the people in the background started hollering and whooping, I was like, `Wow, that really went in.’ I didn’t believe it.”
Guan Tianlang, the 14-year-old Chinese amateur playing on a sponsor exemption, followed his opening 72 with a 69 finish at 3 under to make the cut. He tied for 58th two weeks ago in the Masters after becoming the youngest player to make the cut at Augusta National, and said Thursday that he will play in a U.S. Open qualifier in two weeks in Dallas.
“I think I played a very good round today,” Guan said. “I made a lot of birdies and a couple of good up and downs.”
Glover missed the cuts in three of his past four events, mainly because of the putting woes.
“Obviously, making a lot of them to make that many birdies,” Glover said. “But a few hiccups today, but you get that here. You get out of position, and it’s hard to make par. But luckily I’ve been in position more than not. So I’m pretty pleased with my play.”
He’s working with putting instructor Dave Stockton Jr.
“We’ve been working for about seven months,” Glover said. “Used a little bit of, or took what he gave me, and took some of my own stuff with my setup just to get comfortable and stable and still doing what we work on.”
Glover had 49 putts in the first rounds, 11 on the front nine Friday when he made the turn in 4-under 32. He birdied the first two holes with putts of 3 and 6 feet, and added birdies on the fifth and 11th holes.
He got to 12 under with a short birdie putt on the 13th, but a poor chip from the right side of the green on the par-3 17th green led to bogey. He then rebounded with the 18-footer on the par-5 18th.
“Getting off to a good start at this course is pretty important because 17 coming in, nine coming in, depending on which side you play first, I had about an 8-footer on 2, after a good bunker shot then a tough read,” Glover said. “I had the break going one way, the green going the other, and I made that one. That was a good feeling to birdie the first two, two good reads, two good strokes and I just kind of felt like that got me going.”
D.A. Points was 10 under after a 68. Morgan Hoffmann was three strokes back at 9 under after a 69, and Ernie Els had a 69 to reach 8 under. Els lost a playoff to Jason Dufner last year in the event.
“I like the course.” Els said. “I obviously played well here last year and I’m just trying to set that same game plan and really wait for the course to come to me.”
Bubba Watson, the 2011 winner, rebounded from an opening 73 with a 65 to reach 6 under.
“It was good,” Watson said. “Yesterday, I played really scared. I’m trying to play good. When you do that you don’t hit quality shots and you just struggle.”
Dufner was 3 under after a 71.
NOTES: Keegan Bradley missed the cut, shooting 69-74. …. Watson appeared upset after a fan took a photo apparently as he hit his second shot on the par-4 12th. Watson walked several yards back down the fairway to point out the person to security personnel.