- Associated Press - Monday, May 9, 2011

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Lucas Glover spent the week at a former Clemson football player’s house, had Tigers fans dressed in specially designed T-shirts cheering him each day, and ended up in a playoff with a former Clemson teammate, Jonathan Byrd.

The orange-tinted weekend, combined with a breakthrough with his iron play and great putting, helped end a 41-tournament drought on the PGA Tour.

Fear the beard, indeed.

Glover put aside frustrations on the course and distractions off it by sinking a 4-foot par putt on the first extra hole at the Wells Fargo Championship on Sunday to edge his close friend and claim his first victory since the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black.

“I’m elated, absolutely elated, especially here,” Glover said. “A lot of friends at Quail Hollow, a lot of friends in town, a lot of support.”

The 31-year-old Glover, who grew up in Greenville, S.C., returned to the Carolinas perhaps at a perfect time. Dealing with a divorce over the past couple months that he declined to address and inconsistent play, Glover had missed the cut in his past three starts. He had just one top 10 in the last year.

“He’s had a difficult time for maybe over a year now off the golf course,” Byrd said. “He’s had to play through some things, and for him to come back and play as well as he did this week and play as well as he did other weeks, I’m really proud of him.”

Glover discovered a flaw in the way he was addressing his iron shots in a practice round Tuesday, and was energized by mingling with numerous Clemson fans at the home along the 15th hole of Rich Davies, a former Tigers kicker.

Davies’ oldest son some fraternity brothers took it a step further by making T-shirts reading “Fear the Beard.” Glover decided last fall to try to a bushy-faced look that was the talk of the sun-splashed final day.

“They were painting those up Wednesday night and Thursday morning. They wouldn’t let me come in the garage and see what it was,” Glover said of the shirts. “I was pleased when I saw that it was that tame.”

Glover, one of five leaders on a wild final day, held onto a one-shot edge by parring the tricky final three holes. That included dropping a 7-footer on 18 after a poor tee shot for a 3-under 69, becoming the first player in the event’s nine-year history to shoot four rounds in the 60s.

But Byrd, the 54-hole leader who let a four-stroke lead slip away early Sunday, extended the day by sinking a 15-foot birdie putt to tie Glover at 15-under 273.

If there was any nervousness in trying to end a long winless drought, Byrd’s presence helped. The two have played hundreds of rounds together from their days in junior golf to amateur competitions and then as college teammates.

“I saw him when he came off 18 there on the putting green, gave him a hug, and we just both said, ‘Great playing; see you in a second,’” Glover said. “It was kind of a calmness. I can’t speak for him, but that’s how it was for me.”

Byrd, looking for his third victory since October, pulled his second shot to the left of the 18th green, the first playoff hole. His chip sailed 25 feet past the hole and he made bogey.

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