Glover Eagles Way to Gila River Title

By Sports NetworkOctober 12, 2003, 4:00 pm
CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Lucas Glover eagled the 17th hole Sunday to cap a 5-under 67 and win the Gila River Classic. Glover ended the event at 18-under-par 270 one stroke clear of his nearest competitors.
'I've just been telling myself to stay patient,' said Glover, who picks up $85,500 for the win. 'My game plan was to get going early and I did.'
Tommy Tolles, the overnight leader, carded a 2-under 70 to share second place. He was joined at 17-under-par 271 by John Elliott (69) and Robin Freeman (69). Freeman's brother, Jeff, finished one stroke further back at minus-16 alongside Jason Dufner.
Glover trailed by two strokes entering the round but quickly erased that deficit on the Cattail Course at Whirlwind Golf Club. He birdied each of the first three holes to grab a share of the lead.
He later rolled in a birdie at the eighth to remain in contention and close out a 4-under 32 on the front side.
Glover bogeyed the 10th and three-putted to a double bogey on the 11th to fall off the pace. He rebounded with back-to-back birdies both from within four feet from the 12th to get back to 16 under.
'After No. 11, I told my caddie that I hadn't quit all year and I wasn't about to quit then,' Glover said.
He then dropped in a birdie at the 16th to grab a share of the lead. Glover then drained an 18-footer for eagle on the par-5 17th. He closed with a bogey at the last, but it did not matter.
'To be honest, I've never been so nervous as I was standing on the 18th tee,' said Glover, who picked up his first Nationwide Tour win. 'I had to scramble on No. 18 and my knees were knocking on the green.'
Robin Freeman needed to birdie the 18th to tie Glover but managed just a par. Tolles was two behind Glover, so his birdie on the last meant he shared second place.
Freeman opened with back-to-back birdies, but then stumbled to a bogey at the third. After seven straight pars, he bogeyed the 11th and 12th to fall to 13 under. He climbed back into contention with three straight birdies from the 13th and closed with a birdie on the 17th.
'I made a good rally,' said Freeman. 'I really thought that last one was in. But congratulations to Lucas. That is good playing with those difficult pin placements.'
Tolles picked up birdies on Nos. 5 and 7 to get to 17 under. However he bogeyed the ninth and 11th before closing with birdies on the 15th and 18th.
Elliott had control of the tournament on the front nine. He birdied the first and second, then birdied three straight holes from the seventh to get to minus-19.
Things took a turn for the worse around the turn though. He bogeyed three of the first four holes before righting the ship with a birdie on 14. He closed with four straight pars to share second place.
Scott Gutschewski, who won last week at the Monterey Peninsula Classic, carded a 4-under 68. He shared seventh place at 15-under-par 273 with Mark Hensby and Fran Quinn. Wes Short and Tjaart van der Walt ended one stroke back at minus-14.
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