In this week's edition of After Further Review, Golfchannel.com's writers weigh in on the comebacks of J.B. Holmes and Brendon de Jonge, and Stacy Lewis breaking through for the first time this season.
After more than six years, multiples surgeries and plenty of doubt, J.B. Holmes returned to the winner’s circle on the PGA Tour with a gritty one-stroke victory at the Wells Fargo Championship.
There was brain surgery in September 2011, a fractured ankle in 2013 following a rollerblading mishap and plenty of reasons to consider life after golf.
After brain surgery, Holmes struggled in 2012 and ’13, and his ailing ankle made some question if the long-hitting former Ryder Cup player would ever return to the top of the Tour heap. But on Sunday he began the final round a shot clear of the field, was three strokes up through 15 holes and held on for his third Tour title. – Rex Hoggard
Just a few days after the Honda Classic final round, when Tiger Woods pulled out with a back injury and Brendon de Jonge limped to a 78 with a rib injury, I asked the latter if he’d considered withdrawing.
“I thought about it right at the turn on Sunday, but I figured it wasn’t getting any worse,” he said. “I’ve never withdrawn and I’d like to keep it that way.”
That conversation stuck in my mind this weekend. During a year in which posting a high score and WD'ing has become an “epidemic” according to some players, de Jonge opened with a first-round 80 at Quail Hollow, but backed it up with scores of 62-68-69 to easily finish inside the top-10 and earn a paycheck well into six figures.
Such a dramatic turnaround shouldn’t just be a paean to his perseverance, though. It should serve as motivation to the next player who considers bailing early after a poor start. – Jason Sobel
This season there has been much kvetching over players bowing out of tournaments – either for legitimate reasons, or otherwise – so let’s give a tip of the cap to Brendon de Jonge.
The guy was dead last after his opening 80 at Quail Hollow, but he didn’t pull out of the tournament with some mysterious ailment. He didn’t quit. He didn’t turn his attention to The Players. No, the next day, he signed for a 10-under 62 – an 18-shot improvement, a score that tied the course record. He added two more rounds in the 60s (68, 69) to finish in a tie for sixth, five shots behind winner J.B. Holmes.
Now that is the mark of a true pro. – Ryan Lavner
Close counts in more than horseshoes.
Ask Stacy Lewis.
After so many close calls, so many runner-up finishes that must have been growing more maddening than encouraging, she broke through Sunday to win in a big way at the North Texas LPGA Shootout.
Lewis has to rank among the most mentally tough women on tour. She made all her frustratingly close calls count over the last nine months. She made them matter turning them into steps on a ladder to her six-shot runaway rout in North Texas.
Since winning the Women’s British Open late last summer, Lewis was a brilliant non-winner. Going into Sunday’s finish, she finished second in seven of her last 16 worldwide starts. There can be festering doubt in almost winning that much. There can be a nagging, gnawing sense that you’re blowing chances you won’t get back. Apparently, Lewis didn’t see it that way. She went out and showed us that success can be a reward for enduring disappointment and learning from it. – Randall Mell