Humble, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - J.B. Holmes parred the second playoff hole on Sunday and watched 2008 winner Johnson Wagner miss a short putt for par, handing the 32-year-old Holmes the Houston Open title.
After third-round leader Jordan Spieth tripped to a bogey on the first playoff hole and was eliminated, Holmes and Wagner went back to the par-4 18th one more time. Holmes missed a 10-foot birdie putt for the win, but Wagner missed his second putt from about five feet for par, giving the victory to Holmes.
"It's a big step coming into a major," Holmes said about his win the week prior to the Masters. "I went (to Augusta) Monday, Tuesday and saw the course and so hopefully I'll be ready next week and I'm hitting it well, so looking forward to it."
Holmes, who won for the fourth time on the PGA Tour, surged up the leaderboard with an 8-under 64 in the final round and finished the week at 16-under-par 272. Wagner made a huge birdie putt on the 72nd hole in regulation to join the playoff. He carded a 3-under 69, while Spieth shot a 2-under 70 Sunday on the Tournament Course at Golf Club of Houston.
Russell Henley (69) finished alone in fourth at 14-under 274, while Cameron Tringale (68), Brendon de Jonge (67), Charles Howell III (70) and Keegan Bradley (69) ended one shot further back at minus-13.
Holmes, starting the day six shots back of the leader Spieth, stole the show early on and was certainly eyeing a 59 around the turn.
"I mean that's not really something you go on the first tee saying, 'you know I need this to win,'" admitted Holmes. "I just had to play a really low round if I have a chance, started out great and it worked out for me."
The course did not even look to be a challenge for Holmes at the start as he made seven birdies over his first eight holes, with a par coming at No. 6. All of Holmes' first seven birdie putts were inside 16 feet.
Holmes continued his surge around the turn. After making a pair of pars on nine and 10, he poured in back-to-back gains on 11 and 12. The birdie on the par-4 12th was from 29 feet out after Holmes hit an errant tee shot at the short par-4.
At the end of his birdie streak, Holmes was at 17-under and led by three at the time.
Spieth was rather quiet on his front nine as he made the turn at even-par with a birdie on three and a bogey on six. With Holmes 11 groups ahead of Spieth, who was in the final pairing, the 21-year-old saw his lead evaporate quickly and he was now down by three shots along with a large group at minus-14.
Wagner, who could have punched a ticket to next week's Masters with a victory, was one of those at 14-under late. He played the front nine at 1-under following two birdies and a bogey.
Holmes found the bunker on the par-3 16th, which resulted in his first and only bogey of the day. He finished up with a pair of pars to take the clubhouse lead with Spieth, Wagner and four others lurking two shots back.
Wagner, playing in the penultimate group, was the first to make a move with an 8-foot birdie conversion on the par-5 13th. Spieth was not far behind as he drained a 3-footer for birdie on 13 to pull within one as well.
Spieth made it back-to-back birdies with a 25-foot gain on 14, tying him for the lead once again. The two-time PGA Tour winner finished with four straight pars, including a clutch up-and-down at the tough 18th.
Coming off of four straight pars from 14, Wagner needed a birdie at the last to join the playoff. With Spieth watching in the group behind and Holmes listening on the driving range, Wagner rolled in a monster 25-foot birdie and erupted with joy knowing he just joined the playoff as well.
"That's one of those putts you always hit in the practice round," Wagner said. "I had a good idea it was going to break a little right-left, but I thought I missed it low here and then it broke back right at the end and just went in dead center."
While the other two settled for pars on the first playoff hole, Spieth hit his drive left near the water. With the ball above his feet, Spieth hit to the right greenside bunker. A poor bunker shot left his ball far from the hole and he could not convert that for par.
"I had a really good lie and I just got down into the sand a lot quicker than I normally do there and caught it fat," Spieth said about his bunker shot. "Didn't leave me with an easy chance of continuing the playoff, but still a great Easter Sunday and happy with the way I played down the stretch."
NOTES: Spieth, who has played in the final group the last three Sundays, is now 0-for-4 when holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead ... Spieth would have moved to No. 2 in the world with a win ... Holmes shot a 29 on the front nine, tying the course record with Fred Couples (2008) ... Holmes' 6-stroke comeback win is the largest on the PGA Tour since Matt Jones did the same at this event last year, which also ended in a playoff ... Wagner was playing on a sponsors exemption ... Nine of 21 events on the PGA Tour have gone to a playoff this season ... The Houston Open has gone to a playoff 23 times. The only other event to have more playoffs is the U.S. Open (32) ... J.B. Holmes earned $1.188 million with the win ... The Masters is next week as Bubba Watson returns as the defending champion and is looking to win for the third time at Augusta.