The dream of winning at Riviera felt unrealistic for Max Homa, and it almost was.
Requiring a birdie on the eighteenth opening Sunday to win the Genesis Invitational, he hit sand wedge to a back pin that settled 3 feet away, setting up the storybook finish for a person who grew up 30 miles away and has been watching this tournament his whole life.
And afterward he missed.
His ball close to the base of a tree left of the tenth green on the first playoff hole, Homa hooded a hole wedge with sufficient top turn to hurry up the Kikuyu grass and onto the edge of the green, setting up standard. Tony Finau missed a 7-footer, and Homa was upbeat just to get to the next hole.
Homa won on the second extra hole when Finau neglected to save standard from a shelter, missing a 10-foot putt.
The message from tournament have Tiger Woods at he trophy presentation: Way to hold tight.
Did he ever.
“I don’t know if I could ever do anything cooler in golf than this,” said Homa, who closed with a 5-under 66 and played his final 26 holes at Riviera without a bogey. “Tiger Woods is handing us a trophy — that’s a pretty crazy thought. We grew up idolizing him, idolizing Riviera Country Club, idolizing the golf tournament. To get it done, it’s almost shocking.
“It feels like it just can’t be topped for me.”
It was more sorrow for Finau, who currently has 10 next in line completes worldwide since winning the Puerto Rico Open five years back. He shut with a 7-under 64, the best score of the last round. He had a 7-foot birdie putt on the principal additional opening for the success and left it on the low side. He watched somebody celebrate once more. Also, he kept his jaw up.
“It’s bittersweet to be in this position again,” Finau said. “But I never get tired of playing good golf, and that’s what I tell myself every week.”
Homa, who joined Finau at 12-under 272, won for the second time on the PGA Tour. He broke the best 50 on the planet interestingly at No. 38. The triumph sends him back to the Masters, alongside the following three World Golf Championships.
All that felt auxiliary. He was at Riviera, much the same as he was as a child eating delicate pretzels and watching the best. Just this time, he was holding the prize.
“I think young me would have had a hard time dreaming this one,” Homa said.
He struggled with his feelings, keeping down tears just after he won until he stopped and said, “Wow. I didn’t think it would be like this.”
“The city of champions — Dodgers, Lakers, me now,” Homa said. “It’s a weird feeling.”
For such a long time, the competition had a place with Sam Burns. He was nearly turning into the main player to go wire-to-wire at Riviera since Hal Sutton won the 1983 PGA Championship. In any case, it self-destructed with three intruder in a four-opening stretch on the back nine, and he shut with a 69 to complete one shot out of the season finisher.
“Just didn’t play well enough,” Burns said. “I didn’t drive it well enough to really score the last seven holes.”
That set up the Hollywood completion for Homa, until it seemed like a blood and gore flick when he missed the short birdie putt.
“You’re not supposed to miss a 3-footer in front of Tiger Woods,” he said. “I just was a little nervous, honestly. This tournament means a lot to me.”
A call from his significant other settled him down. She leaves him irregular messages – some he said some don’t bode well, however he enjoys them, at any rate – and this one hit the spot. One of the list items was to excuse rapidly any errors. There weren’t many, aside from the one toward the end.
“I called her after I signed my card and I said, ‘I think I choked a little bit.’ And I laughed,” Homa said. “She said, ‘No, you played great, don’t worry about it and don’t forget to forgive quickly.'”
After an apprehensive second on the tenth, recovery showed up.
Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 part in golf, begun the last cycle two shots behind and in the last gathering. He botched a simple birdie opportunity on the initial opening and it never improved. Johnson neglected to make a run and fell back with imprudent intruder along the back nine. He shot 72 and tied for eighth.
Burns steadied himself Sunday morning with two major standard putts from the 10-foot range – on No. 14 to keep away from a third consecutive intruder and on the eighteenth opening for a 74 that offered him a two-chance lead.
The third round was finished Sunday morning due to a four-hour delay from twist so solid on a course so firm that the normal score was 73.34, the most elevated ever for an end of the week round at Riviera since the PGA Tour started keeping such measurements in 1983.
Jordan Spieth got nothing rolling, all things considered. Coming off a couple of top-five completions to turn his fortunes around, Spieth was five shots behind going into the last round and could just deal with a 71 to tie for fifteenth. Yet, at No. 61 on the planet, he is ineligible for a World Golf Championship interestingly since he turned into a PGA Tour member.