Vol 22 March 2014

Mac Everett
General Chairman

Kym Hougham
Executive Director

Jan Ivey
Director of Marketing and Partner Relations

Tony Schuster
Director of Operations

Gwen Crow
Tournament Coordinator

Paula Burnett
Volunteer Coordinator

Christine Lockett
Tournament Project Manager

2014 Tournament Recap

On his 71st hole of the Wells Fargo Championship, J.B. Holmes sank a 9-foot par putt that proved to be necessary and critical in securing a personal comeback and a victory that will long be remembered.

It was a beautiful day for golf and for the thousands of fans who lined the fairway. And, it was an even better day for a wonderful story of perseverance and for one of the most popular players in the game.

It has been a long road back for the Kentucky native. Since his last victory in 2008, Holmes has endured two brain surgeries, a broken ankle that kept him away from competitive golf for a year and surgery for tennis elbow.

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"He worked so hard," said Holmes's wife Erica. "There were days he had to go to rehab twice, then to acupuncture, then to his workout. He's worked so hard to get to where he is."

The par putt provided the margin he needed as he stood over a 3-foot putt for bogey on the final hole in the fading sun. He made the putt and earned a one-stroke victory over past champion Jim Furyk.

Holmes said he felt confident over the putt at 17, a left-to-right breaker he faced after chipping short.

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"Yeah, that was huge," said Holmes, who collected his third PGA TOUR win. "It gave me a two shot lead going into the last hole and that was big. So I felt comfortable over that putt. I felt like I was going to make it, and I had a good stroke and it went in."

Holmes built a healthy enough margin over the first 15 holes to weather a pair of bogeys over the last three, a brutal finishing stretch known collectively as the Green Mile. Holmes finished with 71 for a 14-under-par total of 274.

On this Sunday with large crowds and beautiful weather, Furyk provided much of the spark. He started the day 7 shots back but fired a 7-under-par 65 to become the clubhouse leader at 13-under-par and gain the attention of players in contention and still on the golf course.

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Martin Flores, paired with Holmes in the final round, had a career-best third-place finish at 12-under 276 after a final-round 72. Flores tied the lead briefly with a chip-in for eagle at the par-5 10th, but lost it moments later when Holmes answered with a short birdie putt on the same hole.

Other contenders down the stretch and throughout the week were Jason Bohn, who was 14 under with a birdie at the 15th but dropped to fourth at 11 under after a double-bogey, bogey finish. Justin Rose was alone in fifth at 10 under after a closing 71. After a third-round 63 on Saturday Phil Mickelson was in contention heading into Sunday. However, the all-time top-ten leader of the Wells Fargo Championship, struggled to keep up with the leaders. He started the round in third place but shot a disappointing 76 and finished tied for 11th.

"I had two great rounds this week, and I had two pathetic rounds this week, but I really enjoyed the week…," Mickelson said. "Even though I didn't play well today and I didn't play well Friday, I had two great rounds, and it's kind of a good start for me to get me back on the right track."

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Certainly the day belonged to Holmes, even if he was a bit shaky coming down the Green Mile.

Furyk's eagle on the par-five 15th gave him a share of the lead, but Holmes followed his short birdie putt at the 10th with a 33-footer for birdie at No. 11 after playing his approach from the pine straw to the right of the fairway.

Holmes added a birdie at No. 15 to build a 3-shot cushion over Furyk and Flores and then had to hang on as he entered the Green Mile.

"Once J.B. birdied 15, I felt like, 'OK, it's time to pack up,'" said Furyk, who was watching the tournament broadcast in the locker room. "It's a 3-shot lead with three to go, but 16, 17, 18—a lot can happen."

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Holmes gave one stroke back at the 16th, where his 8-iron approach from the right rough bounced over the green. From that point, he chipped long and missed his par attempt from 10 feet. But Holmes got up and down from 75 feet after hitting a 5-iron to the front right fringe on the 230-yard, par-3 17th, before dropping the important 9-foot putt for the par.

"The clutch putt was the one at 17," Furyk said. "If he misses that one, it's a whole new ballgame coming up 18."

Holmes chose driver for his tee shot at 18, as he had done all week, and blew it into the trees beyond the right-side fairway bunker that marks the turn point of the hole. His second shot landed 40 yards short of the hole, and after an indifferent chip that came up 45 feet short, Holmes 2-putted for the bogey that clinched the title.

Holmes stood up and put one fist in the air.

"Yeah, this is a big win for me", he said afterward. "Just to win in a venue like this with such a good field and the golf course is always so well-manicured, it's just great. I'm just ecstatic!"

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