Date: February 04, 2008

Appleby close as Holmes wins playoff

Stuart Appleby stormed home with five birdies on the back nine but it wasn&apost enough as JB Holmes held off Phil Mickelson on the first hole of a playoff to win the FBR Open. The 36-year-old Australian soared up the leaderboard with a final-round five-under 66 to go to the clubhouse at 12-under, as compatriot Steve Elkington also finished with a flurry, recording a four-under 67 to draw level in a tie for fourth place. Holmes birdied the 18th hole twice in 20 minutes to defy Mickelson and win his second FBR Open. Looking for his first victory since winning the same event as a rookie in 2006, Holmes birdied the 18th to force a playoff and then sank a six-footer for birdie on the first playoff hole to record only his second PGA Tour title. Holmes held a three-shot lead midway through the final round but needed a birdie on the final hole of regulation to finish 14-under-par. Mickelson&aposs three wood left him 137 yards from the hole in the play-off , while Holmes drove to within 73 yards of the flag. After both players found the green with their approaches, Mickelson slid his long putt past the hole and Holmes sunk his for victory. Mickelson started the day four shots back but a four-under-par round of 67 saw him catch Holmes, who recorded four birdies and four bogeys in his even-par 71. Holmes also becomes the first player to record his first two victories at the same event on tour since Vaughn Taylor won the Reno Tahoe Open in 2004 and 2005. Nick O&aposHern, who started the day tied for fourth, slumped to 10-under after a one-over 72, while rookie Jason Day carded an excellent four-under 67 to move up to eight-under and a tie for 20th place. Robert Allenby finished a further stroke back at seven-under, with Stephen Leaney at six-under, John Senden at four-under and Nathan Green at three-under.