J.B. Holmes simply barged through the door when Justin Thomas left it ajar, and the wind blew it wide open.
Holmes closed with a 1-under-par 70 in brutally windy conditions to chase down Thomas and win the Genesis Open by one stroke at Riviera Country Club www.therivieracountryclub.com in Pacific Palisades, where a seven-hour rain delay on Thursday led to a marathon of more than 30 holes for the leaders on Sunday.
“It was really tough on the back side because the wind was blowing so hard,” said Holmes, who trailed by four shots entering the final round. “It was so hard to make even short putts.
“But that’s the way I want to win, to hit good shots and make key putts, but it was really tough to make putts out there.”
Holmes, who was in the hunt all the way after leading with a 63 in the first round, claimed the fifth victory of his PGA Tour and first since the 2015 Houston Open with a 72-hole score of 14-under 270.
Thomas held his four-stroke lead after opening 66-66-65 and birdied the first hole of the final round, but made bogeys on three of the next five holes to let several players back into the chase.
Then he four-putted for a double-bogey 6 on the 12th hole and had two three-putt bogeys on the back nine as the wind made even three-footers an adventure.
“I really struggled putting in the wind and need to get better at that,” said the fourth-ranked Thomas, who was bidding for his 10th PGA Tour victory. “It showed a flaw in my game.
“Credit J.B. for going out and winning the tournament. He played great. But I still feel like I should have won, but I gave it away. I just didn’t get it done.”
Si Woo Kim of South Korea posted a 66 that was the low score of the final round and was two shots back in solo third, while Marc Leishman of Australia shot 68 highlighted by an 80-foot eagle chip on the 11th hole to finish one more behind in a tie for fourth with ninth-ranked Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who closed with a 68 that included a 16-foot eagle putt on the first hole.
Charles Howell III, the 2007 champion at Riviera, finished five down in solo sixth after a 69, while Michael Thompson totaled 70 and was another stroke behind in a tie for seventh with Adam Scott of Australia, the 2005 winner at Riviera, who struggled home with a 76.
Third-ranked Dustin Johnson, the 2017 winner at Riviera, shot 69 and wound up seven down in a tie for ninth with sixth-ranked Jon Rahm of Spain (71), Kelly Kraft (71), Vaughn Taylor (67) and Carlos Ortiz (69) of Mexico.
Tournament host Tiger Woods finished off a third-round 65 but closed with a 72 to wind up in a tie for 15th that included fifth-ranked Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis, who shot 71, seventh-ranked Xander Schauffele of La Jolla and San Diego State, who had a 69, and defending champion Bubba Watson, who wound up at 73.
Phil Mickleson, a two-time winner at Riviera who won at Pebble Beach last week, tied for 37th with a 70 heading to his title defense this week in Mexico.
For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/competition/2019/genesis-open/leaderboard.html