sport

Holmes seals comeback with win

JB Holmes held his nerve to complete a long comeback from brain surgery by winning the Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina.

Holmes dropped shots on the 16th and 18th in a tense finish, but his three-foot putt saw him hold off a stern challenge from Jim Furyk, whose round of 65 had powered him into contention.

Holmes, whose last title came at the FBR Open in 2008, underwent brain surgery in 2011 after being diagnosed with structural defects in the cerebellum, eventually returning to competition in January 2012.

It has been a long fight back to the top of the leaderboard and for a moment it looked as if his nerves would betray him.

After Furyk had lit up the Quail Hollow course with some stunning play, Holmes made the turn on par before picking up shots on the 10th, 11th and 15th holes.

Victory was in his grasp but he bogeyed the 16th and then sent his tee shot into the trees on the 18th.

He narrowly missed a bunker with his second shot and then made full use of his remaining leeway on the leaderboard as he two-putted for the win.

"It feels great," Holmes said on Sky Sports 4. "First I want to think my Lord and saviour for being with me this week and giving me the strength to do this, I defintely couldn't do it myself. That's first and foremost.

"It's been a long journey for me, there's been some ups and downs but it's a great feeling to be out here and get one done. I'm happy with the way the year is going."

With the victory, Holmes also booked his spot for The Players Championship.

Furyk had been watching the end of Holmes' round from the clubhouse after picking up several places with the best round of the day.

He made the turn already three under par and then birdied the 13th and 14th before an eagle on the par five 15th put him in contention.

That moved him above Martin Flores who could only manage par to drop back into third, two shots off the lead, with Jason Bohn in fourth and Justin Rose fifth.

Rory McIlroy, who recovered from a dismal 76 on Friday with a 65 on Saturday, signed for a 70 that left him in a share of eighth place.