By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Only in the last month has J.B. Holmes started to feel “normal.”
“All my speed came back,” he said. “Not really having as much stiffness in my neck. I knew when I came out early, I'd probably have some problems, but I didn't think it would get better just sitting at home.”
Holmes, who underwent brain surgery last fall, didn’t have any problems on Saturday. He shot a 66 to move within two of the lead with one round to go at The Greenbrier Classic.
It’s the first time Holmes has been in serious contention since undergoing the procedure to relieve pressure caused by Chiari malformations at the base of his brain -- which are structural defects in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance and can cause problems related to headaches, coordination, dizziness and vision.
Holmes had been suffering from vertigo-like symptoms since last May before undergoing the operation Sept. 1 of last year.
”Each week, it’s getting a little better,” said Holmes, who said the toughest part of his recovery was not being able to do things he normally could. -- until now, that is. “I’d come out here one day and feel like I've got it, and the next day it's not there. It's been really hard for me to be consistent.”
He’s been just that this week, though.
Holmes made five birdies and just one bogey Saturday, and this week was the first time all season that he’s put together three straight rounds in the 60s.
Though Holmes has only recently started to feel like himself again, his competitive desire never wavered. He just never had an opportunity to fulfill it, until now.
“You always feel competitive,” he said. “But probably the last five or six weeks is when I really feel like I could hit all the shots and really, if I played well, really come out here and have a really good chance to win.”