J.B. Holmes wins at Quail Hollow

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J.B. Holmes was able to get his first PGA Tour win on Sunday at Quail Hollow since the 2008 FBR Open, finishing one shot ahead of Jim Furyk at the 2014 Wells Fargo Championship.

What Happened

If you’ve been paying attention to the PGA Tour this season, one of the common themes has been big name players having an inability to close out tournaments when in position on Sunday. Holmes was playing in the final group with Martin Flores on Sunday, but with Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose right behind them, the thought was that they would push Holmes and Flores, but that didn’t really happen. Jim Furyk was able to post a 13-under par number early with a great final round 65, but outside of that, the push didn’t really come.

Mickelson was awful pretty much right from the start, and ended up ballooning with a 77 and falling right out of contention. Holmes had a three-shot lead heading to the 16th, and while the lead would be cut to two after a Holmes bogey. The lead was still two shots as the final group got to the 18th, and even though Holmes stumbled in with a bogey after missing right off of the tee and hitting a poor pitch, he was able to hang on for the one-shot win.

Final Leaderboard

  • 1. J.B. Holmes -14
  • 2. Jim Furyk -13
  • 3. Martin Flores -12
  • 4. Jason Bohn -11
  • 5. Justin Rose -10

What The Win Means For Holmes

Obviously six years between wins is a crazy amount of time, but it’s not like Holmes has been fully able to compete in that time either. If you haven’t been keeping up on what Holmes has been up to since that 2008 FBR and the run he had at the Ryder Cup that year, he’s been put through the absolute ringer. From Wikipedia:

After shooting an 80 in the first round, Holmes withdrew from the 2011 PGA Championship in August. He had been dealing with vertigo symptoms for several months and eventually was diagnosed with structural defects in the cerebellum known as Chiari malformations. He underwent brain surgery on September 1, 2011, and about a month later, doctors discovered later that Holmes was allergic to the adhesive used on the webbed titanium plate at the base of his skull. He was airlifted from his home in Kentucky to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore for another surgery. Holmes returned to the PGA Tour in late January 2012 at the Farmers Insurance Open.

After he got through all of that, he actually fractured his ankle while rollerblading and missed more time. He’s been getting it back together in recent months and started to show some good form, but obviously nothing like this. He moves to 68th in the Official World Golf Rankings and 18th in the FedEx Cup, but is still definitely on the outside looking in for a Ryder Cup spot, even though his game is a very intriguing option in the match play format.

The most important thing for Holmes is that he’s back in the winner’s circle after all he’s gone through.

Yes, well, there’s that too. Holmes and Flores were moving at a putridly slow pace, to the point where they were still on the 17th green when Mickelson finished out on the 18th. That’s more of a widespread PGA Tour thing though and not specific to Holmes. I think that the players who typically play slower are more susceptible to the kind of limping in that happened with Holmes down the stretch, and maybe that’s something that he needs to look at going forward, but in any case, this win obviously means a ton to him,

Other Notes

  • Notables to miss the cut: Brian Gay, Jonas Blixt, Lee Westwood, Thorbjorn Olesen, Nicolas Colsaerts, Seung-yul Noh, D.A. Points, Jimmy Walker, Darren Clarke, Nick Watney, Jamie Donaldson, K.J. Choi, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Russell Henley and Matt Jones.
  • Other notable finishes: Rory McIlroy (T8), Phil Mickelson (T11), Zach Johnson and Geoff Ogilvy (T14), Martin Kaymer (T18), Chris Kirk, Derek Ernst and Angel Cabrera (T30), Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama and Webb Simpson (T38), Bill Haas and Ernie Els (T44) and Hunter Mahan (T50).
  • Injury report:
  1. Peter Hanson (WD – back): Hanson fired an 80 in the opening round and finished seven holes on Friday before pulling out.
  2. Brad Fritsch (WD – personal): No reason for Fritsch’s WD was given at the time, but he tweeted out afterward that he had to pull out due to personal reasons. Obviously not going to speculate on anything, but hopefully it’s not too serious and we see him soon.
  • Big credit to Brendon de Jonge, who opened with an 80 on Thursday before firing a second-round 62 on Friday. After playing well on the weekend, he got into a tie for sixth. Seeing as how we’ve seen some players pull out after awful opening rounds, de Jonge deserves a little bit of praise after finishing strong.
  • Back-to-back top-10’s for Justin Rose, who finally looks completely healthy after some off-season shoulder trouble.
  • Pretty solid little finish for Derek Ernst, who was defending his title from last year. I wrote about him earlier in the week, where I made the case that perhaps last year’s win was a case of too much, too soon.
  • On Rory: Tough Friday killed him, just like at the Masters a few weeks ago, and a lot of it had to do with a balky putter. Still though, he’s striking the ball very well and I have no reason to believe that he won’t be in contention next week at the PLAYERS.

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