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Healthy Holmes keeps on rolling with 65

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HUMBLE, Texas – Despite a recent hiccup, J.B. Holmes shows no signs of slowing down.

Already with a pair of runner-up finishes to his credit, Holmes opened the Shell Houston Open with a 7-under 65 to move into a share of second place, two shots behind Scott Piercy.

Holmes needed only 24 putts to complete his round, a day that he started in style by holing a wedge from 85 yards for eagle on No. 10, his opening hole.

“Hit a shot like I wanted to, and luckily it went in,” Holmes said. “Nice to start off the day with an eagle and just kind of got me rolling.”

Holmes missed the cut in his most recent start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, but that was preceded by a run of four straight top-25 finishes, including a playoff loss at the Farmers Insurance Open and a close call at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, where he squandered a five-shot lead in the final round.

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After missing significant time in recent years because of various injuries, Holmes is now inside the top 20 in the world and looking forward to playing an entire season with a clean bill of health.

“This game is hard enough not being healthy,” he said. “Being healthy has helped, and I’ve been able to work on my game and worked really hard to get back here. It’s been nice to be able to reap some of the rewards.”

One of the longest hitters on Tour, Holmes has had some past success at the Golf Club of Houston, where generous landing areas allow for some aggressive lines off the tee. He lost to Paul Casey in a playoff here in 2009, and has finished inside the top 15 in each of his two most recent appearances.

“It’s a good preview for the Masters. They don’t have much rough around here,” Holmes said. “Few holes you can get loose with the driver and it benefits you to hit it farther at this golf course because the wind can get up and it can get difficult. I think it’s just a fun golf course.”