J.B. Holmes beat Jordan Spieth and Johnson Wagner in a playoff for the Shell Houston Open
J.B. Holmes fired a superb final round of 64 to come form six back and earn a place in a playoff for the Shell Houston Open. The Kentuckian then saw off Jordan Spieth and Johnson Wagner to claim his fourth PGA Tour title.
The 32-year-old began the final day six shots behind Jordan Spieth, but he rocketed out of the blocks with five straight birdies. Holmes raced to the turn in 29 and picked up two further birdies on the 11th and 12th holes.
Although he cooled somewhat from that point on, Holmes managed to hold things together on the run for home. He bogeyed the par-3 16th after finding sand, but made two excellent pars on the 17th and 18th holes to card a 64 and post a clubhouse total of 16-under-par.
At that stage he had a two-stroke lead over the pack, and he had to wait some time to see if anyone could match him. Spieth got there with birdies at the 13th and 14th and was able to maintain his share of the lead down the stretch. Wagner managed to reach 16-under with a rare birdie on the final hole.
The three players headed back to the treacherous 18th to settle the event via a sudden-death playoff. Spieth was eliminated at the first extra hole when he was unable to get up-and-down from the greenside bunker.
“I’m not sure what happened,” he said. “I heard something or maybe it was just me. It’s not an excuse. I got down in the sand and caught it fat and didn’t give myself a chance to continue in the playoff. But it was a great Easter Sunday.”
On the second playoff hole, Holmes thought he might have blown a chance of victory when he missed a makeable birdie putt. But it turned out to be unimportant when Wagner lipped out for par. The title went to Holmes and it has pushed him to third place on the FedEx Cup standings.
“I’ve been working on taking it one shot at a time,” Holmes said. “I did a pretty good job of that today.”
Although it was a great result for Wagner who has been struggling so far this season, there was also disappointment. A win in Houston would have given him a start at The Masters. A victory in this event for a player not already invited was the last possible route to gain a tee time at Augusta. Wagner had achieved that feat before, back in 2008.
Paul Casey was the best-placed Brit in Houston. He fired a closing round of 71 to end the week in ninth place.
Shell Houston Open
Golf Club of Houston, Humble, Texas
Apr 2-5, purse: $6,600,000, par: 72
1 J.B. Holmes (USA) 65 70 73 64 272 $1,188,000
T2 Jordan Spieth (USA) 69 66 67 70 272 $580,800
T2 Johnson Wagner (USA) 69 68 66 69 272 $580,800
4 Russell Henley (USA) 69 68 68 69 274 $316,800
T5 Keegan Bradley (USA) 70 66 70 69 275 $231,825
T5 Brendon de Jonge (Zim) 73 67 68 67 275 $231,825
T5 Charles Howell III (USA) 66 70 69 70 275 $231,825
T5 Cameron Tringale (USA) 68 70 69 68 275 $231,825
9 Paul Casey (Eng) 68 69 68 71 276 $191,400
10 Scott Piercy (USA) 63 74 66 74 277 $178,200
Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage