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Holmes savors victory in Wells Fargo

J.B. Holmes, who had brain surgery nearly 3 years ago, posts a one-shot win over Jim Furyk.

J.B. HOLMES was a 3-foot putt away from winning the Wells Fargo Championship when he backed away to size up the situation.

This wasn't about pressure. He was just happy to be there.

Nearly 3 years removed from brain surgery, Holmes was in a far better place yesterday at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C. His 3-foot bogey putt gave him a 1-under 71 and a one-shot victory over Jim Furyk, capping a remarkable comeback.

Holmes finished at 14-under 274.

"Just enjoying the moment," Holmes said. "You don't get that very often, so getting up and thanking God for letting me have the opportunity to do it."

He made it more stressful than he needed, with two bogeys on the last three holes and an 8-foot par putt on the other. Jason Bohn had the best chance to catch Holmes, one shot behind until pulling a 4-iron into the water on the par-3 17th and 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.

It was the third PGA Tour win for Holmes, and by far the sweetest.

Three years ago, he began to feel dizzy, and it wasn't much longer when he was diagnosed with structural defects in the cerebellum known as Chiara malformations. He had brain surgery - twice. The first time was to remove a piece of his skull. The second time was from an allergic reaction to the adhesive that was holding the titanium plate to the base of the skull, causing severe headaches.

If that wasn't enough, he injured his left elbow from hitting too many golf balls in a rush to return. He spent a year getting more cortisone shots that he cared to remember, and when he broke his ankle while roller blading for exercise last year, he used that time to have elbow surgery.

"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."

Holmes still has a container with a piece of his skull somewhere in his closet. When asked if he would put the trophy from Wells Fargo next to it, Holmes chuckled.

"I'll put the skull in the trophy," he said.

In other tournaments

* At Irving, Texas, after six runner-up finishes in her previous 16 tournaments, Stacy 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.

* At The Woodlands, Texas, Bernhard Langer won the Champions Tour's Insperity Invitational for the third time, finishing at 11-under 205 for a one-stroke victory over Fred Couples.