Homa Chips In on Last Hole, Beats Willett by 1 to Repeat in Fortinet

Max Homa was ready to give up his trophy when he reached the final green in the Fortinet Championship.

Then Homa, from Valencia and Cal, chipped in from 33 feet for a birdie at No. 18 before Danny Willett of England three-putted from four feet for a bogey and Homa wound up winning for the second straight year by one stroke on the North Course at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa.

“That was crazy,” Homa said after claiming his fifth PGA Tour victory. “I still don’t really know what happened. It was one of those weekends you just had to hang around. I kind of had to assume (Willett) was going to make his putt and I went for the hero bunker shot and didn’t quite catch it, but incredibly I made the next one.

“I spun (his winning chip) and once it hit the pin, it almost like spun straight into the ground. It was just one of those things. Golf’s a weird game, some crazy stuff happens on the last hole it seems like, and that was very crazy. The last three minutes are kind of a blur.

“My coach (Mark Blackburn) said: ‘Just hang around, hang around, hang around,’ and that’s what I did.”

Homa, who was tied for the lead with Willett after the second round, made his only bogey in the final round on the second hole and then had five birdies the rest of the way in a 4-under-par 68 to record a winning score of 16-under 272.

Willett, who has eight victories as a professional, had five birdies and two bogeys in a 69 to wind up one back.

“Obviously, going to remember that last hole, but it was a good week, nice to be in contention basically all week from Friday,” said Willett, the 2016 Masters champion. “Yeah, it’s just a shame how I finished, but that’s golf. We’re going to do it again another day.

“You know, first outing of the season, like I said, to be in contention, things are in a good place. Yeah, we’ll live to fight another day. I expected (Homa to make his chip), but then it’s still a bit of a shock when it happens.”

Taylor Montgomery birdied four of the last six holes to cap a bogey-free 66 and was three shots down in solo third, while first- and third-round leader Justin Lower closed with a 73 and was four behind in a tie for fourth with Byeong Hun An of South Korea, who sank a six-foot birdie putt on the last hole for a second straight 71.

Rickie Fowler of Murrieta sank a 26-foot eagle putt at No. 16 in a 69 and was five strokes down in a tie for sixth with Sahith Theegala of Chino Hills and Pepperdine, who birdied four of the last six holes for a 70, and Nick Taylor of Canada, who birdied four of the last five to cap a 68.

Harris English collected six birdies while finishing his 66 on the front nine and wound up six shots back in a tie for ninth with Brendon Todd, who carded a bogey-free 68, and Davis Thompson, who had two birdies and two bogeys in his 70.

Emiliano Grillo of Argentina, the 2015 champion in the Fortinet (formerly the Safeway Championship), shot 69 and tied for 25th.

Former Fortinet champions Stewart Cink, Cameron Champ of Sacramento, Brendan Steele of Idyllwild UC Riverside, and Kevin Tway all missed the cut.

For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html

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