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SURVIVOR

THE BALTIMORE SUN

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- After he stroked his final putt, Lucas Glover could barely muster a fist pump.

"I don't know if I could have thought up a good celebration," he said. "Mentally, I was done."

But his brain wasn't scrambled to where he forgot about a bet, actually more of a promise, that caddie Don Cooper had made: If Glover won the U.S. Open, Cooper would buy himself a Corvette.

After the men hugged Monday afternoon on the 72nd green at Bethpage Black, Glover told him he had to live up to the deal.

Cooper's reaction? "We'll talk that over," he said, just before a fellow caddie helped him celebrate by handing him a cold Heineken.

The 109th U.S. Open will more likely be remembered for the drenching rains that forced a Monday finish, the crowds that treated Phil Mickelson as if he had punched out Bernard Madoff and the stunning resurgence by David Duval.

But Glover's tale should not be overlooked. He had to qualify to get into the 156-man field. He had not made a U.S. Open cut in three tries. He double-bogeyed the first hole he played, a slip-up that would have crushed him in the past.

"I didn't slam a club," Glover said. "I walked to the second tee and said: 'Hey, it's the U.S. Open and it's going to be a long week.' "

Glover, 29, will prove a popular champion because of his humility and candor.

He acknowledged that his hands were shaking before that final four-foot putt. And he has openly wondered whether he belonged, given that his only PGA Tour win, at Disney in 2005, came on a 100-foot holed bunker shot at the final hole.

While holding the trophy awarded to the U.S. national champion, Glover was asked how it feels.

"Heavy," he replied. "It's an honor to be on the trophy. I hope I don't downgrade it or anything with my name on it. I'm just excited and happy."

He actually looked stoic, almost an American version of Retief Goosen.

"Lucas, go ahead and smile!" a man yelled as Glover walked by after his triumph.

He's actually more like the locals than they know. Yes, Glover is a South Carolina native who worships Clemson football. But he's also a Yankees fan because his favorite player growing up was Don Mattingly.

There's no "dadgum" in his speech. He devours murder mystery novels. And he's impatient.

"Very fidgety," said his wife, Jennifer. "He can't even watch a movie without doing something else."

The Glovers even visited Manhattan one Christmas and fell in love with the big city.

"Absolutely," she said, cupping her hand as if to whisper. "I'd live here."

Glover played second fiddle most of the week to Mickelson, the sentimental choice, and then to Ricky Barnes, the third-round leader whose Open surge was even more improbable.

Glover finally seized the lead for good with his first birdie of the final round, on No. 16. He made a three-footer for par on 17 after backing off the putt when a wind gust ruffled the cuffs of his pants.

His sports psychologist, Morris Pickens, cherished that show of patience.

"He has grown so much," Pickens said.

Glover was tempted to hit driver on 18, which played just 354 yards Monday.

"It looked awful inviting," said Cooper, who nonetheless talked him out of it.

Leading Mickelson and Duval by two shots, Glover steered a 6-iron into the fairway. His 9-iron approach left him some 35 feet.

After he knocked home the clinching putt, Glover fell into his caddie's arms.

"He's known his abilities and that he hadn't really lived up to them," Cooper said. "You'll see a lot of smiles on his face from here on out, I guarantee you."

109th U.S. Open winner

Name: Lucas Glover

Height: 6-2 Weight: 195

Born: Nov. 12, 1979

Birthplace: Greenville, S.C.

College: Clemson (2005)

Turned pro: 2001

Family: Wife Jennifer

2009 PGA earnings: $2.6 million

Career PGA wins: 2

Career PGA earnings: $10.5 million

Top finishers

Player To par Total

Lucas Glover -4 276

Ricky Barnes -2 278

David Duval -2 278

Phil Mickelson -2 278

Ross Fisher -1 279

Tiger Woods E 280

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