,BLOOMFIELD TWP. -- They were the last lines of defense for the Americans.
J.B. Holmes led the PGA Championship after the second round and trailed by just one when the third round was completed early Sunday at Oakland Hills. Ben Curtis held a three-stroke advantage after the first hole of the final round.
Playing in the last threesome, both battled their own demons. Holmes completely fell apart, while Curtis began his slide in the middle of the round.
Neither could prevent a European from winning the tournament for the first time since 1930. Curtis finished with a 71 for the round and 279 overall, good enough for a second-place tie with Sergio Garcia. Holmes shot an embarrassing 81 to wind up 13 strokes behind champion Padraig Harrington.
Forced to play a full 36 holes after seeing their rounds wiped out by rain Saturday, Curtis waned and Holmes wilted.
"I'm stiff. I'm tired," said Curtis, who won the 2003 British Open as a virtual unknown. "I'm ready to fall over. I was a little nervous before I headed out this afternoon because my back was stiff. I don't know if it was just the cold weather but it held up nicely."
Maybe he jinxed himself by wearing Detroit Lions gear, not because he's a fan, but because the Columbus, Ohio native has a sponsorship deal with Reebok to wear NFL apparel at tour events.
It won him some new fans, at least until the group ahead of him that included Garcia and Harrington drew them away.
"I struggled there in the middle of the round and they kind of deserted me because it was such a good battle," he said. "But, definitely, there was a lot of support, wearing the Detroit Lions gear. They wanted to see somebody wearing the Detroit Lions (colors) win."