Max Houma successfully defended his title at the Fortinet Championship.
With a one-shot lead on the final hole, Homa birdied and was surprised to see leader Danny Willett take a three-putt from under four feet.
“I can’t believe what I just saw,” said Golf Channel announcer Terry Gannon.
Neither did Homa, who finished 4-under 68 on the North Course at the Silverado Resort in Napa, California and finished 16-under 272 over 72 holes. It was enough to win him his fifth PGA Tour title and his third Golden his title. state.
“I still don’t quite understand what happened,” Homa said. “Her last three minutes are a blur.”
On a cool, gusty rainy day, Willett birdied the first, fourth and eight early in the final round to build a three-shot lead before bogeying back on the ninth. He came forward again with an incredible birdie on his 14, approaching from behind a tree where he hooked 15 feet and canned a putt. Houma, a 31-year-old Culver Klee alumnus, made a valiant effort to defend his title as he stole his third straight birdie from ninth.
“My coach[Mark Blackburn]used to say, ‘hang out, hang out, hang out,'” recalls Homa.
Homa did just that, forcing Willett to hole from the inside four feet for the trophy when he got a birdie at 18.
“When you turned it and hit the pin, it was as if it rolled straight into the ground. That was just one of those things,” Houma said. “Golf is a weird game. It seemed like crazy things happened on the last hole and it was so crazy.”
It was as clutch as a clutch gets, but it didn’t seem enough until Willett hit a putt too hard for the win and ripped out. Even more shocking, I giftwrapped the trophy to Homa.
“This game always blows my mind,” said Tom Byrum of Golf Channel.
Rookie Taylor Montgomery finished alone in third place with a 64 in the final round. Justin Lower finished with a 73, settling for a tie for fourth but notching his career-best finish. Rickie Fowler, tied for sixth, achieved his third top-10 finish in his last 59 appearances. Paul in his Haley II, who made his 3,315-day tour start since his championship at Windham in 2013, finished in a T-12.
Homa’s second shot at the par-5 18th hole caught a left greenside bunker, leaving a nasty 30-yard shot from the sand.
“I had to assume he was going to make it. I went for the hero’s bunker shot and didn’t catch it,” Homa said.
He exploded 33 feet in front of the green and eventually got a birdie.
“I thought he would,” said Willett.
This week, the 34-year-old Briton has holed more than 96% of his putts from inside 10 feet, including a clutch 9-foot par putt on 17 to maintain his lead. However, his first putt from his four feet was edged on the left and faced a longer par his putt than in previous attempts to force a playoff. Willett was looking to win his first PGA Tour title since the 2016 Masters, but it didn’t.
“I’m sorry it’s over, but that’s golf,” Willett said. “Yeah, we’ll live to fight another day.”
Homa will make his first appearance for the United States in a 12-man squad at the Presidents Cup next week. The President’s Cup further boosts confidence in his biennial team his match-play competition with his 12 best players in the world outside of Europe.
“I’m happy to get in shape and represent my country and play with them. They’re some good golfers so I just wanted to get in shape,” he said. “I know this is Twitter, but I’ve had a lot of people tell me I wouldn’t have made the President’s Cup team if the LIV guys hadn’t left. Shoulders this week.