SANDWICH, England — Lucas Glover is in prime position to go where no man has gone since the 1800s — wearing a beard into the winner’s circle at the Open Championship.
With a second-round 70 on Friday at windswept Royal St. George’s, Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, moved into a share of the lead as he tries to win the Open double. At 4-under-par 136, Glover is tied with Darren Clarke, and the two are just one stroke ahead four players, including 2009 PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer. Another seven players are two shots back, with another five, including Phil Mickelson, just three shots behind. In all, everyone who made the cut is within seven shots of the lead.
STORY: British Open Round 2 wrap-up
RESULTS: British Open leaderboard
PHOTOS: The best images from the British Open
The bunched up leaderboard has teed up as many story lines as there are pot bunkers that dot this massive links by the English Channel, and the growth on Glover’s face is one of them.
His bearded following in the states — chants of “Fear The Beard” have echoed on golf courses for weeks now — has traveled over the Atlantic as local radio and television commentators have spent some time talking about the beard, with one telling the South Carolina native that no one has won the Open Championship while sporting a beard since the 1890s.
In his post-round interview, Glover joked the long dearth in victorious beards might provide him some incentive.
“I’m going to try and end that drought,” Glover said with a smile. “It’s a beard, but I guess it’s caused a lot of interest. To me it’s just a beard.”
Glover, instead, would like to talk about the current form of his golf game instead of the length of his thick chin hair. Since winning the Wells Fargo Championship in a playoff against Jonathan Byrd in May, Glover hasn’t finished better than a tie for 40th in six starts. And he’s missed two cuts in five starts in the Open and never finished better than a tie for 27th.
But a growing affinity for links golf has sparked the 31-year-old’s game.
“I have learned to appreciate the challenge that links golf gives,” said Glover, who is sharing a house this week with Davis Love III, who is only two shots behind. The two have ordered in food all week from a sandwich shop. “You get what you get, and you take what you can. That’s the way it is.”
As an example, Glover said he reached the green at the par-5 seventh hole with a driver, 4-iron. On the next hole, he hit the same two clubs to reach the green — at a par-4 that is 125 yards shorter than the seventh.
“So it is what it is. I’ve become comfortable with that,” Glover said. “Originally I wasn’t. I’d get mad if it rolled into a bunker or bounced off a green when I hit an average shot. But when you don’t hit the precise shot here you get penalized and that’s the way it should be.”
As for the second round, Glover made two birdies to offset bogeys at the fourth and 10th holes, and finished with eight consecutive pars. He also never put on a jacket, playing the entire round wearing short sleeves — a first for him in an Open.
“I hit it better than I hit it yesterday. I just didn’t make as many putts,” Glover said. “You know I’ve got to put those two together to win a big tournament like this. But I played solid. I’m happy I made the cut and have some time to rest.”
He’ll need his rest. The weather forecast does not look inspiring to those who like warmth and slight breezes. After a relatively calm morning, strong winds and plenty of rain are supposed to sweep in off the English Channel.
“I think it’s still about execution,” Glover said when asked how the weather will change the tournament. “It (felt) like a late spring day for us today. But I think that’s going to come to a halt tomorrow I’ve heard, so I don’t think it’ll help or hurt anybody in particular.
“It’s going to be tough here Saturday, Sunday, with 36 holes to go, and the wind is going to get up, so it’s going to be difficult.”
This news is originally written and published at: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/golf/pga/2011-07-15-british-open-lucas-glover_n.htm