Holmes alone at FBR Open
BY iseekgolf.com | US PGA Tour | 2006 FBR Open | Wrap | 06 Feb 2006
The victory of J.B.Holmes in this week’s FBR Open at Scottsdale near Phoenix provides the PGA Tour with yet another boost of charisma and appeal.
Holmes seven shot win came in just his fourth PGA Tour event as a card holder and his fifth overall. After gaining his card at last year’s Tour School by finishing as the leading qualifier, Holmes has already recorded two solid finishes on the 2006 PGA Tour when 10th at the Sony Open and 28th at the Buick Invitational.
His prodigious length will serve him well in his PGA Tour career, but so too will it serve the PGA Tour well as this young man (23) is on track to become folklore given the stunning distances he hits the ball. Woods and Daly have been to the forefront in driving distance in recent times but Holmes looks as if he will take this to another level again.
A successful collegiate player while at the University of Kentucky, Holmes played Walker Cup for the US in 2005 before advancing through all three stages of the Q School where he won the final stage by three shots.
Today he led by one as he headed into the final round over Ryan Palmer and J.J. Henry but by the turn Palmer had headed him by one. They drew level again at the 10th when Holmes birdied but when Palmer bogeyed the 11th the lead was Holmes’ alone.
The crucial point on day four came at the par five 15th when Palmer found the water with his tee shot and again with his third. He added insult to injury when he three putted for triple bogey and when Holmes holed a 15 foot putt for eagle he had established a six shot break over those now fighting for second.
At the reachable par four 17th, Holmes’s three wood found the front edge of the green some 300 yards away and when he two putted that for yet another birdie he was seven ahead. The interest would be how the rookie would handle the emotions of the walk down the 18th and whether either Palmer or Henry could make birdie to break clear of a logjam for second.
Palmer and Henry found the right hand trap with their three woods after Holmes had taken the no fear approach and smashed his drive close to 350 yards. Holmes had just 77 yards remaining and pitched twenty feet left of the flag. Palmer and Henry both missed the green but were able to save par although Palmer will no doubt rue the mess he made of the 15th. Essentially any one of those shots dropped at that hole could have saved Palmer $US250,000.
The story however was with Holmes who, in winning the $936,000, moved past US$1 million and in doing so became the fastest to earn a USPGA Tour career million in USPGA Tour history. He had earned $127,000 for his 10th place in Hawaii.
The five way share of second had Palmer, Steve Lowery, Scott Verplank, J.J. Henry and yet another rookie Camilo Villegas sharing $1.5 million. Villegas is yet another charismatic figure about to make his mark on PGA Tour golf.
The Australians were headed by Geoff Ogilvy who finished 20th, Nathan Green had yet another solid week when 33rd, Rod Pampling was 40th, John Senden 50th and Robert Allenby 55th.
The PGA Tour now heads to Pebble Beach for next week’s AT&T event.