GREENSBORO — Lucas Glover did more than extend his PGA Tour season Sunday. He won the Wyndham Championship with a 2-under 68 that sends him into the FedEx Cup playoffs with more big opportunities in front of him.
Glover managed a two-hour rain delay and took advantage of a faltering Russell Henley to win for the first time in more than two years and earn an unlikely spot in the lucrative postseason.
Justin Thomas ended his season with a shot he won’t soon forget. Needing a birdie on the 18th hole, his pitch from 100 feet short of the hole smacked off the base of the pin and settled inches away as Thomas fell to the ground in disbelief.
Now he must wait three weeks to see if his worst season — this is the first time Thomas has failed to make the playoffs — will cost him a pick for the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Glover now has five PGA Tour wins separated by 18 years, and there might not have been another except for deciding to switch to a long putter, a move inspired by Adam Scott. He had been battling the yips, and he made every important putt at Sedgefield Country Club.
The Wyndham Championship is the final tournament before the top 70 qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs that start next week in Memphis, Tennessee. Glover was at No. 112, a long shot who needed nothing short of a runner-up finish.
He did one better, pulling away after the rain delay with plenty of help from Henley.
It was the second time in three years that Henley let one get away at Sedgefield. When play resumed, he took the lead with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 15th, and then everything went wrong in a bogey-bogey-bogey finish.
His mediocre tee shot on the par-3 16th came down the slope at the front of the green and took one more turn into a deep divot hole. He chopped that out to 35 feet and made bogey. He sent his tee shot on the 17th into the trees, and his next shot buried in a deep hole in thick rough. He had to scramble for bogey.
And then on the closing hole, his approach from the fairway came up short and rolled off the green. He pitched to 18 feet and two-putted. He had gone 21 straight holes without a bogey and finished with three straight for a 69.
Two years ago, he had four bogeys over the last eight holes and missed a playoff by one shot.
“Just never got comfortable, felt a little jittery out there, just never got into a good sync with my swing,” Henley said. “Just didn’t do a good job of handling the restart.”
Henley tied for second with Byeong Hun An (67). Billy Horschel, who shared the 54-hole lead with Glover, didn’t make a birdie until the final hole. He shot 72 and finished alone in fourth.
Glover never liked the idea of the PGA Tour dropping the number from 125 to 70 players who advance to the playoffs. Now he’s No. 49 with the victory, and if he can stay in the top 50 after next week, the 43-year-old will be eligible for all the signature $20 million events in 2024.
Winning is what mattered more, especially having his two children, Lucille and Lucas Jr., come out to the green. “Daddy, you won!” the son said. His daughter was in tears.
“I’m too old to be on the road this much,” Glover said. “I’ve been busting my hump to be with them, be with my wife. I’m so happy.”
Thomas made a 15-foot eagle putt on the 15th hole, only to catch a strong gust as storms were moving in on the par-3 16th, sending his ball down the hill and leading to bogey. He looked to be in big trouble on the 18th when he pulled his tee shot onto the pine straw, blocked by trees. But he hit a hard hook, twisting his body 180 degrees on impact, just short of the green.
The pitch took a few hops and looked like it would disappear into the hole until the base of the pin kept it out. He had to settle for a 68 and a long three weeks of waiting.
Zach Johnson gets six captain’s picks, and the question is whether Thomas has done enough in his two previous Ryder Cup appearances — or showed enough in one week — to merit a pick.
The 70th and final spot went to Ben Griffin, who missed the cut. He finished nine points ahead of Thomas. Adam Scott closed with a 63 and missed the postseason for the first time since the FedEx Cup began in 2007.
That leaves Matt Kuchar as the only player eligible for the playoffs every year since 2007.