Max Homa didn’t blink once.
Not after two days of non-stop rain. Not on the final two days of the Wells Fargo Championship, when the temperature hardly rose above 50 degrees. Not on the already harsh and soggy TPC Potomac at Avenal Farm north of the nation’s capital, where gusty gusts made things cooler and challenged players to adjust.
Instead, whether chasing the lead or holding it for the remaining 36 holes, Homa maintained his cool and stuck to his game plan of hitting fairways and greens. In other words, he plodded his way through the awful conditions one shot at a time, eventually winning his fourth PGA Tour championship and second Wells Fargo Championship with the fewest shots.
When he took a three-shot lead to the 70th hole, he was at his most understated. Homa was forced to hit a 6-foot bogey putt to hold a one-stroke lead while playing partner Keegan Bradley made birdie. He threw it away.
Homa signed for a 2-under-par 68 after two solid pars to finish at 8 under par, two strokes ahead of the field. Homa, who was placed 100th in the official world rankings in January 2021, won for the third time in 14 months, including last year’s Genesis Invitational, where he received the title trophy from Tiger Woods.
He is now ranked 29th in the world.
He also joined Rory McIlroy as the only players to have won the Wells Fargo tournament multiple times. He also became the PGA Tour’s fifth multiple winner this season.
“Life is good,” said Homa, who announced on social media in late April that he and his wife, Lacey, are expecting their first child, a boy. “I have a good life and I’m a terrific golfer.” I’m starting to come into my own. I’m starting to have greater faith in myself.
“Keegan is a fantastic golfer. I knew he wouldn’t go away, so all I could do was keep hitting excellent shots. Obviously, there have been some difficult points on this tour, and for the last three years, I’ve been able to find my stride and win four times.”
After Bradley made double on the second, Homa birdied the first from eight feet and took the lead. On the seventh hole, a two-shot swing evened things up, and Bradley took the lead with a birdie on the eighth. When Bradley doubled the 11th, Homa had a three-shot lead after birdies on nine and ten. Homa never looked back after that, making a 12-foot birdie on the 15th and many gut-check par putts from 6-8 feet.
A resilient victory in the DMV 🏆 pic.twitter.com/9aCqdrozdA
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 8, 2022
Bradley, who led by two strokes after 54 holes, was attempting to win for the first time since the BMW Championship in 2018. With two double bogeys, three bogeys, and five birdies, the 2011 PGA Championship winner had an up-and-down day. He shot a 72 to tie for second place at 6 under. With a final-round 67 to finish at 6 under, Matt Fitzpatrick, who has seven wins on the DP World Tour, made a strong push for his first PGA Tour triumph. Cameron Young was also at 6 under (66).
“Today I didn’t play my best golf,” Bradley said. “It was choppy at first, then I had a few of good periods, but I had a chance at the finish, so I’m proud of that.” But I’m disappointed because I had high hopes for this one.
“I’m pleased with the state of my game, particularly my putting.” I feel like I can do a lot of damage the rest of the year if I can putt like this.”
Rory McIlroy, the defending champion and only player with three Wells Fargo titles, battled through rain and darkness to reach the cut on Friday, getting up-and-down from a greenside bunker on his final hole.
Then, with a 68 in the third round, he moved up 44 ranks and, with a birdie on the 10th on Sunday, he closed to within two strokes of the lead. He terrified the hole on several birdie putts coming in, but shot 68 to finish sixth at 4 under.
McIlroy stated, “I had my opportunities.” “I played the last eight holes in 1 over, which is not the way you want to end when you give yourself a chance and get within like 2, but I played well.” Overall, it was a nice weekend, a good week, and something to build on heading into the PGA Championship (Championship in two weeks). There are no issues with the game.
“Everything appears to be in order. As I mentioned, a couple of things here and there down the stretch, a couple of missed putts, but other than that, I think the game is in fantastic form.”
While Homa is amusing on Twitter, he has the perfect poker face when he’s inside the gallery. He never reaches extremes of either extreme. If he did, no one would be able to know just by looking at him.
And his abilities are undeniable. He’s developed into a great driver, a superb iron player, and a reliable putter. With his rising confidence, he appears to be on a steady path to the top of the game.
“When I won this event in 2019, I started to establish myself on this tour,” Homa remarked. “I felt I was capable of being a regular PGA Tour player, but last year I suddenly found myself in the top 50 in the world, and you start looking around and you start asking to yourself, Am I as good as these guys?” Then I want to be in the top ten in the world, play in the Presidents Cup, and the Ryder Cup. Is that something I’m capable of?
“So I’ve always fought with it, but I have wonderful people in my life who constantly remind me that I am that guy.” This week, I attempted to walk about believing it and faking it a little till I made it.”
Leave a Reply