After Further Review: Holmes completes comeback

In this week's edition of After Further Review,'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 “I’ve never withdrawn and I’d like to keep it that way.”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

Getty Images

Romo turns in even in PGA Tour debut

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 3:00 pm

After stumbling out of the gates, Tony Romo has found his footing in his PGA Tour debut.

Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption, Romo shot an even-par 36 for his opening nine holes in the Dominican Republic. The former NFL quarterback bogeyed his first two holes, but steadied the ship with three birdies from Nos. 4-8 while playing alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

The early highlight of the round came at the par-4 fifth hole, where Romo drained a putt from across the green for his second straight birdie:

Romo has played as an amateur partner in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and has played individually in U.S. Open local qualifiers and mini-tour events as an amateur. But this marks his first attempt to gauge his game against the best players in the world who are not in Austin for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Romo, who plays to a plus-0.3 handicap, said earlier in the week that he expected some jitters once it came time to put a tee in the ground.

"You'll be nervous on Thursday on the first tee. Just going to be," Romo said. "I've got to get through the first three or four holes. If I can handle the nerves on the first three or four holes, I think that I'll settle in and hopefully just play the way I've been playing."

Click here to watch live first-round action on Golf Channel.

Getty Images

Kim's missing clubs show up at sporting goods store

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 1:58 pm

More than a month after they were lost on an American Airlines flight, the clubs I.K. Kim used to win last year's Ricoh Women's British Open turned up on the sale rack of a California sporting goods store.

Kim's clubs became lost in late January when she flew from Miami to San Diego, with the airline suggesting she simply rent a new set. A few weeks later, Kim shot a "What's in the bag" television segment which according to a Golfweek report caught the eye of three good samaritans in the San Diego area.

The three men recognized Kim's clubs for sale at a local Play It Again Sports, with the major winner's tools listed at $60 each. The store even had Kim's tour bag, complete with her LPGA player badge. Kim filmed the reunion with her bag - containing wedges and a few hybrids, minus the head covers - at the Carlsbad police station:

Kim was back in southern California this week for the Kia Classic, where she'll begin play Thursday morning at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad.

Getty Images

New dad Garcia removes shoes, wins match

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 12:48 am

AUSTIN, Texas – In one of the day’s most explosive matches, Sergio Garcia rolled in an 8-footer for birdie at the 18th hole to defeat Shubhankar Sharma, 1 up, at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

The duo halved just nine holes on Day 1 at Austin Country Club, with Garcia going from 2 up through four holes to 1 down with five holes to play.

But the Spaniard rallied with five birdies over his final eight holes and pushed his record to 20-17-1 in the Match Play. He also gave himself his best chance to advance out of pool play since the format began in 2015.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

The victory continued what has already been a memorable week for Garcia, whose wife, Angela, gave birth to the couple’s first child last Wednesday.

“I already feel like I’m a winner after what happened on Wednesday,” Garcia said. “Obviously, it's something that we're so, so happy and proud of and enjoying it as much as possible.”

The highlight of Garcia’s round on Wednesday came at the 12th hole when he took a drop on a cart path. After considering his options, he removed his shoes and hit his approach from 212 yards to 29 feet for a two-putt birdie to halve the hole.

“I have spikes. So if I don't take my shoes off, I'm going to slip. It's not the kind of shot that you want to slip,” Garcia said. “I had tried it a couple of times on practice swings and I was already slipping a little bit. So I thought I would just take my shoes off, try to get a little bit in front of the hole and it came out great.”