SAN DIEGO – It’s been nearly a year since a PGA Tour field list included the name J.B. Holmes. After just 36 holes at Torrey Pines, though, Holmes has already moved his name from the starter’s sheet to the leaderboard at the Farmers Insurance Open.
The long-hitting veteran notched seven birdies Friday on the North Course en route to a 4-under 68 and now will begin the third round in a tie for 11th, five shots off the pace.
“I’m pretty pleased,” said Holmes, whose most recent start on the PGA Tour came at the 2013 Honda Classic. “I was hitting it well coming in. I’m scrambling really well, and I’ve made the most of the opportunities I’ve had.”
After missing the cut at PGA National last March, Holmes fractured his ankle while rollerblading. The injury kept the 31-year-old on the shelf for the rest of 2013, and Holmes wasn’t able to hit a golf ball for four months.
“I hate running, so I was trying to do something different,” he said of his decision to start skating. “I wasn’t doing anything stupid, just caught a crack in the pavement and fell off.”
The broken ankle was just the latest in a string of major injuries for Holmes, who had brain surgery in 2011 and recently battled tennis elbow, an injury that ultimately required surgery. Now back on the competitive landscape, he set the bar low for his return to action this week at Torrey Pines.
“I’m just glad to be out here,” he added. “I just wanted to come out and have a good time, play and have fun.”
Holmes is playing this season on a major medical extension, and his solid start in San Diego could bode well for his prospects next week when he returns to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, an event that he won in 2006 and 2008.