Holmes seals Shell Houston Open after three-way playoff

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Jordan Spieth fails in quest to move into second in World rankings

J.B. Holmes was surprised to have claimed a narrow victory at the Shell Houston Open after the title had to be settled via a three man playoff.

After making a dramatic entrance into the playoff shootout, Spieth was eliminated after the first playoff hole after a distraction from an alleged camera shutter seemed to cause him to miss-hit his shot.

“I am not sure what happened. I heard something or maybe it was just me,” Spieth said. “It’s not an excuse. 

“I had a good lie but just got down into the sand a lot quicker than I would normally do there and caught the ball fat.”

Former Houston Open winner Wagner had only gained entry to this tournament via a sponsor exemption.

“The way I finished today, I played great,” said Wagner. “Making a nice par on 17 and the birdie on 18 to make the playoff was pretty incredible.”

“I’m pretty bummed right now. This is my favourite event, if not my favourite one of my two or three events on the PGA Tour.

“I’m pretty disappointed but I’ve got a lot of good stuff going on and I’m looking forward to Hilton Head.”

Champion Holmes came from six shots behind in the final round with a career best 64 to tie Wagner (69) and Spieth (70) at 16-under par 272.

“That’s not something you go on the first day saying – ‘I need this to win’ – I just knew I had to play a really low round to have a chance,” said Holmes. “I started out great and it’s just worked out for me.”

“I didn’t tee off expecting to win today, but you know, it’s a nice surprise.”

A par was all that was required at the par-4 18th, with Wagner unable to match his compatriot after missing a five-foot par putt.

Holmes sees this as a catalyst for Augusta and the rest of the coming season: “Any time where you can get a week where you can win is a big step coming into a Major.”

“I went there Monday and Tuesday and saw the course, so hopefully I’ll be ready next week.”

“I’m looking forward to it.”

Spieth will surely be one of the favourites to challenge for the title at Augusta, having recorded six top-10 finishes already this season.

The 21-year old is fast becoming a model of consistency on the PGA Tour this season, and will be hoping to utilise this consistency to improve upon his runner-up finish at Augusta last year.

 “I am taking a lot of momentum to Augusta,” said Spieth. “I have felt very comfortable in these last three out of four weeks that I have played. 

“I have been a lot more comfortable when taking on more and more pressure so that gives me a lot of confidence.”
I didn’t tee off expecting to win today, but you know, it’s a nice surprise. The 21-year old will need this confidence in his short game as he enters arguably the toughest test of a player’s aptitude around the greens.

“To be able to get up-and-down again, just like (Valspar), gives me a lot of confidence on the greens, and that’s obviously the most important piece next week,” he said. 

“But I’m going to need to strike the ball a little better to have a chance to win.”

Former Major winner Phil Mickelson, had challenged throughout the early stages of this tournament but faded late on. He eventually finished in 17th position.

“I didn’t strike the ball quite as solid the last two days,” Mickelson said. “Some areas of chipping I’ll need to work on.”

“I wanted to come away with a victory but certainly more of an opportunity in today’s final round,” said Mickelson. “I was in contention at the start of the weekend.  

“I felt good and got some momentum.  Good foundation on what to work on over the next three days to get sharp for Thursday.”

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