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.
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.”