CHARLOTTE, N.C. — More than two years after going through brain surgery, J.B. Holmes is a winner again on the PGA Tour.
Holmes made it harder than he needed to on the final hole at Quail Hollow until rapping in a 3-foot bogey putt for a 1-under 71 and a one-shot victory over Jim Furyk in the Wells Fargo Championship. Furyk finished his Sunday-best 65 some two hours earlier.
Jason Bohn had the best chance to catch Holmes. He was one shot behind when he pulled a 4-iron into the water on the par-3 17th, making double bogey. Phil Mickelson never had a chance, missing four putts from the 4-foot range and closing with a 76 to finish out of the top 10.
The victory capped a remarkable turnaround for Holmes, who won for the third time in his career.
He was diagnosed in 2011 with structural defects in the cerebellum known as Chiara malformations, and he had surgery twice — once to remove a piece of his skull that he still keeps at home, another because of an allergic reaction to the adhesive on the titanium plate at the base of his skull.
Then, he injured his elbow by hitting too many balls in an attempt to return from the brain surgery. He didn't bother having surgery on his elbow until last year, when he was sidelined by a broken ankle and couldn't play, anyway.
Only last week, Holmes earned enough money to keep his card for the rest of the year from a medical extension. Now, he's headed to The Players Championship next week for the richest prize in golf, and more importantly, secured a spot in the PGA Championship this summer in his native Kentucky.
"It's been a long journey for me," Holmes said. "I've had some ups and downs. It's a great feeling to be out there and to get one done."
His only other victories were in the Phoenix Open in 2006 and 2008.
Holmes made enough key putts to allow for some mistakes at the end. He ran off three birdies in a four-hole stretch around the turn, including a 30-footer on No. 11 that opened up a two-shot lead. He gouged a fairway metal out of the rough on the par-5 15th to set up a 6-foot birdie putt that stretched his lead to three shots.
Perhaps the biggest putt of all was an 8-foot par save on the 17th hole. That kept his lead at two shots, and he needed it. Instead of playing an iron off the tee, he drove into the right rough, came up well short of the green and chipped weakly to 45 feet.
Furyk was watching on TV in the locker room when Holmes knocked in the bogey putt to finish at 14-under 274.
Martin Flores, in his first time playing in the last group, fell too far back with a three-putt bogey on the 13th. He made bogey on the 18th for a 72 and was third, the best finish of his PGA Tour career. Bohn also bogeyed the 18th for a 70 to finish fourth.
Bohn received a bad time on the 16th hole — one more would have been a one-shot penalty — and said he let it get to him.
"I didn't feel comfortable with the wind starting to gust up a little bit, and I went ahead and hit it anyhow in a situation that I probably would have backed off in," Bohn said. "So I'm more disappointing in myself and the way that I handled that than the golf shots that I hit."
North Texas LPGA Shootout
At Irving, Texas, there was no near-miss for Stacy Lewis this time.
After six runner-up finishes in her previous 16 tournaments, Lewis took control in the final round of the North Texas LPGA Shootout, shooting a 7-under 64 for a six-stroke victory over Meena Lee.
With consecutive birdies at the end, Lewis finished at 16-under 268 and with the LPGA Tour's largest margin of victory since Jiyai Shin won the 2012 Women's British Open by nine.
It was the ninth career LPGA Tour victory for Lewis, her first since August in the Women's British Open, and will boost the Texan from No. 3 to No. 2 in the world ranking.
Lewis made a putt from about 25 feet off the fringe at the 540-yard seventh for an eagle. She followed that with consecutive birdies to make the turn at 14 under and up by three strokes.
Lee, also in the final group, shot 70. Michelle Wie, who closed within two before faltering late, had a 67 to finish third at 9 under.
At The Woodlands, Texas, Bernhard Langer won the Champions Tour's Insperity Invitational for the third time, closing with a 1-under 71 for a one-stroke victory over Fred Couples.
Langer finished at 11-under 205 at The Woodlands to become the 10th 20-time winner on the 50-and-over tour.
The 56-year-old German player also won the 2007 event at Augusta Pines and successfully defended his title in 2008 at The Woodlands. He opened this season with a victory in Hawaii.
Couples, the former University of Houston player who won the 2010 event, finished with a 67.
Colin Montgomerie was third at 9 under after a 70.
Esteban Toledo, the winner last year, was 7 under after a 71.