J.B. wins playoff in Houston

J.B. Holmes closed with an 8-under-par 64 and beat Johnson Wagner with a par on the second playoff hole to win the Shell Houston Open at the Golf Club of Houston.

Holmes, who claimed his fourth victory on the PGA Tour, came from six strokes behind 54-hole leader Jordan Spieth, who bowed out of the playoff with a bogey on the first extra hole.

“I knew I had to shoot something low to have a shot at it,” said Holmes, who birdied the first five holes and seven of the first eight while tying the course record of 7-under 29 on the front nine. “I got off to a great start and it worked out for me.

“It’s a big step coming into a major (the Masters). I went over (to Augusta National) and played a couple of practice rounds at the beginning of the week, so I have a lot of confidence going in there.”

Spieth, who won the Valspar Championship in a playoff and finished second in the Valero Texas Open in his last two starts, closed with a 70 and made a clutch 12-foot putt for par on the 72nd hole to get into the playoff.

Wagner, who won in Houston in 2008 for the first of his three PGA Tour victories, closed with a 69 that was his fourth straight round in the 60s and sank a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to earn his spot in the playoff.

However, he lipped out a six-foot putt for par on the second playoff hole.

“I’m pretty bummed out right now,” said Wagner, whose last victory came in the 2012 Sony Open in Hawaii. “I’m pretty disappointed, but I played great and I’m happy with the way I finished. To make that birdie putt to get into the playoff was incredible.”

Russell Henley finished with a 69 and was two strokes back in solo third, while Keegan Bradley also shot 69 and was another shot back in a tie for fifth with Cameron Tringale (68) of Laguna Nigel, Charles Howell III (70) and Brendon de Jonge (67) of Zimbabwe.

Phil Mickelson, searching for his game and his first top-10 finish of the season heading to the Masters, posted a 71 and finished in a tie for 17th that included Patrick Reed, a four-time winner in the last 18 months, who struggled to a 73.

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