MEMPHIS — Sloppy mud one day, broiling heat the next. Lucas Glover is playing his best golf no the matter the conditions on the ground or in the air, posting a 6-under-par 64 on Friday for a one-shot lead over Jordan Spieth in the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
Glover holed three putts longer than 25 feet, one of them for an eagle on the par-5 16th, and has made only one bogey through 36 holes going into the weekend of the PGA Tour's postseason opener at TPC Southwind.
It was the 19th time in Glover's last 20 rounds he has shot in the 60s. A week ago, he was No. 112 in the FedEx Cup standings and looking at a month off. Now he's moving closer to making it all the way to the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta.
"I'm old enough to know it can change the other way in a hurry, too," said the 43-year-old Glover, who was at 10-under 130 overall. "So kind of ride the wave and just don't overthink it. Keep going and play until it runs out, and then figure it out after that."
Spieth figured it out as he went, holing a bunker shot for a birdie on the seventh hole after back-to-back bogeys, part of a late surge that gave him a 68.
The hot sun and Southern humidity combined to push the heat index just short of 120 degrees, a challenge for everyone on the course.
Eric Larson, the caddie for Harris English, had to stop after 10 holes. He stooped to tie his shoes on the second hole and had trouble standing up; English all but ordered him to get checked out by medical personnel. Larson said his heart rate was high and blood pressure was low (90 over 50), but he had intravenous fluids and felt better by the end of the day.
Meanwhile, English grabbed Andrew Argotsinger, the head pro at nearby Windyke Country Club, to fill in on the bag. Larson slipped him $100 for the effort when the round was over.
English shot a 71 and was tied for 57th at 1 over. He's one of three Baylor School graduates at the tournament, with Stephan Jaeger (65) tied for 14th at 6 under and Keith Mitchell (68) tied for 39th at 2 under.
For the 70-man field trying to be among the top 50 who advance to next week's BMW Championship, it was a day of soaked shirts, soaked pants and plenty of birdies from the fairway on a course that had been soaked by storms throughout the week.
Towels were used as much to wipe arms, necks and brows as they were to clean clubs.
"I didn't get this wet in the shower this morning," Glover said.
Spieth, a Dallas native, figured the heat would not be a problem for him, though he conceded he played most of his golf before noon. He practically bragged to his caddie that Memphis heat was nothing to worry about.
"And then today I'm like, 'Man, I was wrong.' I'm humbled," the 30-year-old Texan said. "It's just a different kind of heat. But it felt like it was just coming off the ground. I'll bring two shirts from now on and change at the turn, because I was struggling a bit early in the round."
The golf part was fine, though Spieth said the heat contributed to a few poor club choices that led to bogeys (he had four). He's still right where he wants to be going into the weekend, but he has plenty of company with 16 players within four shots of the lead.
Five players were a stroke behind Spieth at 8 under — fellow American player Taylor Moore (66), England's Tommy Fleetwood (66), Argentina's Emiliano Grillo (67) and South Korea's Sungjae Im (65) and Tom Kim (68) — while Scottie Scheffler, No. 2 in the FedEx Cup standings, and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy (No. 3) each had a 66 and were in the group three shots out of the lead.
Points leader Jon Rahm was tied for 51st, the Spaniard getting to par with a 67.
Glover, who had three birdies in a four-hole stretch on the front nine Friday, is coming off a win at the Wyndham Championship to close the regular season, but he's taking nothing for granted.
"This game is cruel, man," Glover said. "You can play nice and just get cruddy results, and then you can kind of hit it bad and get a couple good breaks and get some good results."