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J.B. Holmes found something with his putting that has helped, tied for fourth at Memorial

J.B. Holmes

Kentuckian J.B. Holmes shot a 6-under par 66 to move to 8-under par at the Memorial in Ohio to move into a tie for fourth place going into the third round on Saturday.

This is what he said after the round:

Q. 66 today in the second round. Your best round here at the Memorial.
J.B. HOLMES: It might be. I don’t know.

Q. Talk us through it. The eagle on 15?
J.B. HOLMES: Played the par-5s great today. I was 5-under on those. 15, hit a great drive down the left side and the shot was set up for me with the pin back right and had a perfect club and hit a good 5-wood and just cut it back in there and had about 15 feet. And Sean O’Hair hit a chip and it was pretty close to my line, so I got to at least see it a little before I hit the putt and I hit a great putt and it went in.

Q. Assess your season so far this year.
J.B. HOLMES: My season this year hasn’t been the best for me, I haven’t played that great. Started out pretty good with the fourth place in San Diego and then I’ve kind of struggled with the putter since then. Just little things. I feel like I’ve been close but I haven’t put anything together. So it’s a good start to the week and hopefully I can continue playing like this.

Q. You’ve been up-and-down in the five or six tournaments you’ve played here. Can you pinpoint something that happened that week that let you play so well on this golf course?
J.B. HOLMES: I think I’ve had a couple top-10s here. It’s just, you got to hit good shots around here. Putting’s a big deal and where you leave the ball. Try not to short side yourself. The greens are real severe so you got to have some strategy going into it. And you’ve got to putt well around here, that’s the main thing. So but it’s a tough track.

Q. Another Kentuckian, Kenny Perry, has done well here. Have you talked to him about this course at all?
J.B. HOLMES: No, I really haven’t. Kenny, he’s played great here several times but we haven’t really talked about it.

Q. What was the point of emphasis for you in terms of your game? What were you focusing on really more than anything this week?
J.B. HOLMES: I’ve been putting — I’ve been struggling putting, so this week has been really good putting. I had a lesson with Matt Kellen, my instructor, earlier in the week and I felt like it really kind of found something that clicked and it’s been good since then. I’ve hit the putts where I’ve been aiming and some have gone in.

Q. What you did you work on?
J.B. HOLMES: My setup. My shoulders were a little too open so we knew that getting them more square would be able to get the ball on line easier.

Q. The fairways here are generous, the rough’s tough. Is there any risk of losing focus because the fairways are generous that you don’t have to laser focus that or not?
J.B. HOLMES: No, because the rough is — I mean it’s really, since it’s wet it’s actually playing pretty fair. The fairways are a little bit bigger, but if you hit it in the rough it’s almost chip out some places. So and the ball kind of lands — and I mean if the fairways were firm then scores would be through the roof.

Q. They don’t look as wide as maybe they are?
J.B. HOLMES: Yeah, well I hit one just barely off the fairway on 11 and I had 60 yards to carry the water and I barely covered it with a 9-iron. I mean you can get some really nasty lies out there, so it’s definitely a penalty if you miss. But it can get windy out here and you can miss some fairways. There are some that are pretty big, but there are some where you got to thread it a little bit.

Q. Do you sense the excitement going into the weekend after having not been in contention lately?
J.B. HOLMES: Yeah, just want to keep doing the same thing I’ve been doing. Just really focus on my routines and one shot at a time. Yeah, it’s great to be up in contention, but really you can’t really start thinking about that. You’ve got to really just keep doing what you’re doing, that’s what got you here. And if it ends up great on the weekend, that’s when you celebrate.

Q. A 19-year-old was leading this tournament. Is that hard to fathom in some ways? Do you remember back when you were that age what were you doing?
J.B. HOLMES: Not anymore. When I was my age, yeah, but how old is Justin Thomas? He’s the No. 1 player in the world. When I got out on TOUR there was like four guys under the age of 27 out here. Now there’s like four of those guys in the top-10. So it’s just changed a lot, it’s gotten a lot younger, so that’s great, but surprising? Not as surprising as it would have been 10 years ago.

Q. Players talk about accuracy being really important on the golf course. How important is that?
J.B. HOLMES: Yeah, you got to be in the fairway. You’re not scoring out of the rough out here, it’s so thick. It’s almost a penalty. You got get a break to get a lie out of it. So and then the greens are real severe, so you got to be — miss it in the right spots. So you got to be real accurate all the way around this course.

Q. More 3-woods than normal?
J.B. HOLMES: No, about the same.

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