JB Holmes secured his first PGA Tour win in almost four years when capturing the Genesis Open at a wet and windy Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.
The 36-year-old American overturned a four-shot deficit in the final 18 holes as Justin Thomas paid the price for a four-over par 75 to miss out by a single shot.
Heavy rain on the first day meant that many players had to play 72 holes in three days, with Holmes and Thomas both required to play 33 on Sunday, with just a 30-minute gap in between rounds.
Gusting winds late on Sunday made putting especially difficult on Riviera’s already quick greens, with players having to back away on numerous occasions as a mini storm whipped through the course.
Holmes, who finished on 14 under par thanks to a one-under-par final round, holed several key putts to keep his challenge on track, notably on the 13th, when he drained a 12-foot par putt, while a nervy-looking Thomas needed four putts to close out a double-bogey six on the same hole.
Holmes, who made seven pars in his final seven holes, described his win as “huge” but faced criticism from commentators and on social media for slow play. “You play in 25mph winds and see how fast you play,” he said afterwards. “You can’t just get up there and whack it when it’s blowing that hard.”
Rory McIlroy secured a third successive top-five finish at a PGA Tour event when firing a closing 69. The 29 year old started his final round with an eagle, and moved to just two shots off the lead after chipping in from a bunker on the 16th, but a par and bogey over the closing two holes left him in a tie for fourth with Marc Leishman.
Like McIlroy, Tiger Woods also chipped in from a greenside bunker on the 16th hole during a one-over-par round which saw him finish tied for 15th. The former world No.1 fired a third round 65 to move into the top five, but a stone cold putter on Sunday afternoon saw him drop back into the chasing pack.
Next year’s Genesis Open has been raised to “Invitational” status, and will offer an increased prize fund of $9.3 million, and a three-year exemption to the PGA Tour for the winner. The field will be reduced from 144 to 120 players. The tournament, which is hosted by Tiger Woods, is managed by TGR Live Events and is held in conjunction with the Tiger Woods Foundation. This gives Woods’ annual PGA Tour stop the same status accorded to the Arnold Palmer Invitational, held at Bay Hill Club in March, and the Memorial, which is hosted by Jack Nicklaus at Muirfield Village in the spring.