2015 has been a season of what ifs for J.B. Holmes. He lost out to Jason Day in a playoff at the Farmers Insurance Open back in February. Exactly one month later, he entered the final round at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral with a six shot lead. He shot a 75 on that Sunday, finishing runner up to Dustin Johnson.
Needless to say, when Holmes started his final round Sunday, six shots back and 90 minutes before the final group went off, he wasn’t expecting much.
“I didn’t focus on the results at any point in the round,” said Holmes. “I was just trying to do the best I could do each hole and at the end of the round, then you add it up. I didn’t tee off expecting to win today…”
Holmes did exactly that though, thanks in part to a final round 64 that saw him start his day 7-under through his first nine and 9-under through his first 12.
“I knew I had to play a really low round and I started out great,” Holmes said. “It worked out for me.”
At one point it was looking like Holmes could end up firing the coveted 59. While he didn’t do that, Holmes “settled” for the 64 which was the low round of the day.
Still though, having teed off 90 minutes before the final group, he had to sit and wait for a while, watching the last 11 groups of the day finish to see if his score of 16-under would be enough to win. It wasn’t enough to win outright, but it was enough to get into a playoff with Jordan Spieth and Johnson Wagner.
Spieth was going for his second win in his last three events and, just like in Tampa, drained a lengthy par save on the 72nd hole to get into the playoff. Wagner, who made birdie on 18 to get into the playoff, needed a win to get into the Masters field.
In the end it was Holmes, who had been a bridesmaid several times this year, who finally got the win, his first since the 2014 Wells Fargo Championship.
It took two playoff holes to get the win, with a competitor being eliminated on each hole. On the first playoff hole, it was Spieth who got eliminated after his drive on 18 barely stayed out of the water, leading to an awkward second shot. After landing his second shot in the green side bunker, Spieth failed to get up and down for his par save.
“I’m not sure what happened,” Spieth 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.”
Once again, Holmes made par on the second playoff hole and that turned out to be enough as Wagner, like Spieth a hole earlier, couldn’t save his par.
Brittany Lincicome Wins LPGA’S First Major In Wild Finish
Just as Holmes’ win seemed improbable at the start of the day Sunday on the PGA Tour, Brittany Lincicome’s win at the season’s first major on the LPGA Tour seemed just as unlikely at the start of the day.
Lincicome made a 10 foot eagle putt on the 72nd hole and then watched as Palm Beach Gardens resident and Solheim Cup teammate Stacy Lewis two putted on 18, allowing Lincicome to get into a playoff with Lewis.
It took three playoff holes and the sun starting to set before Lincicome finally claimed the ANA Inspiration title and jumped into Poppy’s Pond for the second time in her career. There were several time on Sunday night though that it looked like it might not happen.
Lewis was four shots clear of Lincicome with five holes to play. She bogeyed the 13th and 15th, then parred out to allow Lincicome to get back in it.
Even after the eagle putt on the 72nd hole, Lewis had a birdie putt that would have won it in regulation. She missed that one from 13 feet, then missed putts from 15 and 12 feet on the first and second playoff holes that also would have sealed the win.
On the third playoff hole, after laying up for the third straight time, Lewis found her third shot sitting in the middle of a sand filled divot. Her shot came up short of the green and Lincicome safely two-putted to get the win.
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