Lucas Glover’s remarkable career resurrection is a startling reminder that perseverance pays.
It is a valuable message for Britons Tommy Fleetwood and Charley Hull, for whom frustration is mounting despite playing some of the best golf of their careers. Neither can get over the finishing line as they strive for landmark wins.
Instead two Americans profited, the 43-year-old Glover astonishingly posting a second successive victory on the PGA Tour after Lilia Vu collected her second major in Surrey.
What was striking about each of those successes was the efficiency of both victors on the greens, a quality that evaded Fleetwood and Hull as they strove for breakthrough triumphs.
Fleetwood finished in a share of third place in the FedEx St Jude Championship, his 22nd top five on the American circuit where he has yet to lift a trophy.
He is “the first player in PGA Tour history to surpass $20million (£15.75m) in official career earnings without a win,” pointed out stats guru Justin Ray on Twitter.
In the steaming heat of Tennessee, the 32-year-old from Southport was left to rue missed putts on the second, third and sixth holes after starting the tournament with three successive rounds of 66 that set up a genuine prospect of breaking his US tour duck.
“I hit a good putt on two and then probably two sort of iffy putts…and that was it,” Fleetwood said. “Those go in, it’s been exactly the same as every other day this week. I played really well…I felt great coming down the stretch.”
This summer Fleetwood has been runner-up at the Canadian Open, tied fifth at the US Open, shared sixth at the Scottish, tied tenth at the Open and last Sunday was just one shot out of the playoff won by Glover over Patrick Cantlay.
That is seriously good golf against the very best players in the world. His work with swing coach Butch Harmon is clearly paying off; all that is missing is a win.
“Of course it’s frustrating,” Fleetwood admitted. “But I think I have to look at it in a positive way, be proud of the golf I’m playing and the work that we’re doing.
“I’ll keep playing the way that I have done. Even when I’ve been in contention and in those last rounds, I haven’t done loads wrong, and I’m feeling very, very comfortable.
“It’s just trusting that it will happen and keep playing my game.”
The 27-year-old from Kettering charged into second place in thrilling style at last month’s US Open at Pebble Beach.
She was then second to Nelly Korda in the Aramco event at the Centurion Club with a ten on her card and now has her first outright major runner up finish at Walton Heath.
Ironically, it came from an outrageous monster putt holed on the final green to keep her ahead of third placed Jiyai Shin to complete a one-over-par final round 73.
In truth, Hull was blown away by new world number one Vu’s sensational final round 67, but there were key moments where Hull had opportunities to apply pressure but ultimately could not hole the putts she needed.
That lengthy putt on the closing green came well after the title had already been decided. Until then the Englishwoman’s putter had remained in the metaphorical deep freeze; it was stone cold.
Hull now has six runner-up finishes since her most recent win on the LPGA tour which came in October last year. Like Fleetwood, she is due.
The Englishman’s conqueror in Memphis has enjoyed an extraordinary upturn in fortunes. Glover, who famously does not use a golf glove, is a different man after moving to a long putter.
Always renowned for his ball striking, the 2009 US Open winner missed all four majors this year because his scoring had been so undermined by yippy putting.
“We always believe in ourselves no matter how bad it is,” Glover said after posting his back to back wins. “I never gave that up, but in the middle of May, it was hard to go to the range some days and hard to work.
“But we pushed through and did it anyway.”
In June, Glover missed a putt for a playoff spot in US Open qualifying. It was a disconsolate but pivotal walk back to his car with caddie Tom Lamb.
“Tom just looked at me and goes, ‘I don’t really care that you missed that putt. This is a process with this new putter, and there’s going to be some bumps’,” Glover revealed.
“But he said, ‘I can’t tell you how much better you look and how much more confident you look’.
“I needed to hear that at that moment, even though I was kind of dejected. I went on to Canada and had my best week in a few months.”
He was 20th in Toronto and after missing the cut the following week has posted five top sixes in the subsequent half dozen tournaments he has played, including those two wins at the Wyndham Championship and now in Memphis.
Glover is up to fourth in the PGA Tour play-off standings, with the top 50 progressing to this week’s BMW Championship in Chicago. It is the final stop before the leading 30 contest the season ending Tour Championship.
The South Carolina veteran is also in the conversation for a US Ryder Cup debut in Rome next month. The way he is currently wielding that long stick – which deserves some scrutiny – makes him a formidable candidate.
He admitted the possibility of making his debut in Zach Johnson’s team first entered his head only after claiming this second title. “I’ve never made it and I want to,” he smiled.
In a season that has included 11 missed cuts, it would be due reward for admirable perseverance.