Being healthy is a 'different feeling' for Holmes


ORLANDO, Fla. – A clean bill of health can sometimes be a golfer’s best asset. Just ask Tiger Woods – or for that matter, J.B. Holmes.

Playing this season on a major medical extension, Holmes carded a 3-under 69 to move up the leaderboard Friday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. After missing much of 2013 because of a broken ankle followed by surgery to his right arm, Holmes is happy to be back on the course and pain-free.

“This is the first time in three years I’ve really been healthy. It’s a different feeling, that’s for sure,” said Holmes, who also missed several months following brain surgery in 2011. “Just being healthy means a whole lot.”

At 7-under 137, Holmes trailed first-round leader Adam Scott by three shots after signing his scorecard, though Scott had yet to begin his second round.

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Holmes’ score Friday followed an opening 68 at Bay Hill, marking the first time the 31-year-old has recorded consecutive sub-70 rounds since the 2012 CIMB Classic. He credits the results to a new putter that he put in the bag after the Valspar Championship, one with added weight to combat the speedy greens in Orlando.

Still in search of his first top-10 finish on the PGA Tour since the 2012 Shell Houston Open, Holmes has made five of six cuts in 2014 but cracked the top 50 only once, a tie for 23rd at the Farmers Insurance Open.

“I’ve been really close, I feel like. I just haven’t really put it all together,” he added. “I’ve just been waiting for it to click in. Hopefully this will be the week.”