The Wells Fargo Championship turned a vibrant shade of Clemson orange Sunday evening, as two former Tiger teammates and close friends fought their way into a sudden-death playoff - and then found themselves facing each other.
Lucas Glover and Jonathan Byrd played college golf together for three years at Clemson. Before that, they had played junior golf against each other in South Carolina. But while they have played hundreds of rounds together, they had never battled in a PGA Tour playoff until Sunday.
The bearded Glover won with a four-foot par putt on the one extra hole they played, No.18, at Quail Hollow Club, shaking his left fist at the sky as the ball found the cup.
Byrd had made a dramatic birdie at the same hole 20 minutes before to force the playoff - a birdie Glover correctly predicted in an interview during the CBS telecast.
When Byrd dropped the 14-foot putt to a roar from the sellout crowd to force overtime, Glover said simply: "Told ya."
But Glover - who had not won a tournament since the 2009 U.S. Open - stayed tranquil. He gave Byrd a hug shortly before the playoff.
"I think I had some calmness there because Jonathan and I are so close," Glover said.
Glover had played the final three holes - the tournament's vaunted "Green Mile" - with three tough pars in regulation. He did exactly the same thing during the playoff.
Byrd, on the other hand, knocked his playoff drive into a fairway bunker. It got worse for Byrd after that - his second shot nearly found the creek that runs to the left of the 18th hole. Byrd couldn't recover and bogeyed the hole.
With his par, Glover took home the first-place check of $1.17 million. Byrd earned $702,000 for second place.
Glover's mother Hershey was in the crowd on Mother's Day.
"I'm elated," said Glover, who also helped host a Clemson-centric gathering Friday night that included Tiger football coach Dabo Swinney and basketball coach Brad Brownell. On Tuesday, Byrd and Glover had played a just-for-fun team match against Charles Warren and Davis Love III. Byrd had needed a 15-foot putt on No.18 to tie the match, and made it.
In the playoff, though, the two friends were on opposite sides at No.18. "If I couldn't win," Byrd said, "I couldn't pick anybody else I'd want to win other than Lucas."
Putter made difference
The two Clemson alums have long been friends. Byrd, at 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, is the balding 33-year-old who has generally been better at chipping and putting than Glover.
Glover, 31, is a strapping 6-2 and 195, looks like a strong safety and has enough hair for he and Byrd put together. He usually hits the ball further than Byrd. But this week - although his driver was occasionally erratic - Glover was the best putter in the tournament.
There were seven former Clemson golfers in the 156-player field, so it wasn't a total shock that two of them would finish 1-2. Byrd is one of the hottest players on tour, having won twice since October. Glover had not been playing well - he had missed three straight cuts coming in - but had twice previously finished in the top five at Quail Hollow.
The fine finish Sunday capped another successful week for the Wells Fargo Championship, which had some of the best weather it has ever had and once again was sold out.
At one point Sunday, Byrd had a four-stroke lead. He lost all of that, but then bulled his way into the playoff with the birdie on No.18.
Ultimately, Byrd lost and Glover won.
But both of them earned a whole lot of green - and the color orange fared pretty well, too.