Holmes tames Blue Monster with impressive 10-under 62

DORAL, Fla. – Firing a 62 on the PGA Tour is nothing new, or even unusual.

There already have been 13 rounds of 62 in the wraparound 2015 season, after 21 such scores were posted in 2014.

But what J.B. Holmes did on Thursday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship was remarkable. He dominated an elite field and the incredibly difficult Trump National Doral to the tune of a 10-under 62, four shots better than anyone else in the field.

“That’s always a good measure of a round is how many shots did you beat the rest of the field by,” Jim Furyk said. “If you shoot 62 and there’s like three 63s and a 64, it’s still a hell of a round. But when you separate yourself by the field – and a really strong field – by four, it’s a great round of golf. “

In 2014, Doral’s Blue Monster had a scoring average of 73.852, with a pair of 66s from Tiger Woods and Jonas Blixt the lowest rounds of the tournament.

So not only was Holmes four shots better than Ryan Moore on Thursday, but he also set a new benchmark on the course that was made longer and more difficult by course designer Gil Hanse before the 2014 event.

“I didn’t see 8 under out there,” Jimmy Walker said. “To see two guys up there kind of distancing themselves, that can happen, but I just didn’t see it. You get a hard golf course, somebody’s on, really on, you can’t stop somebody when they’re on. You just can’t.”

Holmes was definitely “on,” posting a bogey-free round that included an eagle and eight birdies.

Of the nine holes that Holmes parred, eight were on putts of 2 feet or less. Only a 21-foot bomb on the par-3 ninth stood out as an anomaly.

“A bunch of people have been saying, ‘What course was I playing?’ ” Holmes said. “Had a lot of fun and didn’t have too many stressful putts. If I didn’t make it, it was in there pretty close, so I didn’t have a whole bunch of 4? or 5?footers.”

Moore, who was playing with a tweak to his swing and a new putter, also rattled off eight birdies, but a double bogey at the par-4 18th put a late damper on his round.

“I was obviously giving myself good, reasonable birdie chances,” Moore said. “Controlled my ball really nicely today, probably for about 13, 14 holes. Honestly, 15 or 16 for that matter. Hit a couple bad shots coming in, but I controlled the ball nice, but I was putting great.”

Holmes’ 62 is one shot off the Blue Monster record set by Stephen Ames in 2000, but that tournament was not in the WGC rotation and was simply a regular Tour stop (Doral-Ryder Open). The scoring average in 2000 was 70.563; Thursday’s average was 73.400.

“A four?shot lead is great the first day,” Furyk said. “Even J.B. realizes it’s the first day. We’d all like to be in that position, trust me, but there’s a lot of golf to be played.”

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