Max Homa pounces as Jon Rahm and Sam Ryder fade

Golfer Max Homa poses with his trophy

Max Homa fired seven birdies in a six-under par 66 on Saturday to grab the US PGA Tour title at Torrey Pines. Picture: PGATOUR

Published Jan 29, 2023

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Los Angeles - Max Homa fired seven birdies in a six-under par 66 on Saturday to grab the US PGA Tour title at Torrey Pines as overnight leader Sam Ryder and world number three Jon Rahm faded.

Homa, ranked 16th in the world, nabbed his sixth US PGA Tour title and his fourth in come-from-behind fashion.

He capped his round with a four-foot birdie putt at 18 -- where his second shot was a putt from just off the green. His 13-under par total of 275 put him two strokes in front of Keegan Bradley, who had six birdies in his six-under 66.

"I think it's a ton of patience and a lot of confidence," Homa, 32, said of his come-from-behind wins in a post-round television interview.

"Winning takes a lot of luck but it takes, I think, a lot of patience. Especially on these final rounds, 18 holes is a marathon and a lot of stuff goes on."

Five off the lead to start the day, Homa chipped in for birdie at the third, and rolled in a 13-footer at the fifth. He added birdies at the sixth, ninth and 11th before his lone miscue of the day at 14.

He curled in a 15-foot birdie at the 16th to tie Ryder atop the leaderboard, but Homa was one in front when he reached 18 after Ryder fell back with a double-bogey at the 15th.

Ryder, a 33-year-old chasing his first PGA title in his 147th start, got off to a promising start with a 13-foot birdie at the first.

He rebounded from back-to-back bogeys at the seventh and eighth with a birdie at the 10th, where he stuck his 189-yard second shot three feet from the pin.

But at 15 he was in deep rough off the tee on the way to dropping two shots.

He made one more bogey at 17, where he was unable to get up and down from a greenside bunker and a three-over 75 left him tied for fourth on 279.

That was one stroke behind two-time major winner Collin Morikawa, who was in solo third after a 69.

"Just didn't get it done," Ryder said. "I battled hard, though ... battled a lot but hopefully there's going to be more opportunities."

Bad breaks

Rahm had been expected to be the player pressuring Ryder, going for a victory that could have seen him return to number one in the world.

The Spaniard arrived at Torrey Pines -- where he won his first US title in 2017 and the US Open in 2021 -- as the hottest golfer on tour, having won consecutive starts at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii and the American Express in La Quinta, California.

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But he was chasing all week after an opening 73, flirting with the cut before a late second-round surge.

He started the day two shots off the lead, and playing in the final group with Ryder he was in trouble early with a bogey at the first and a double-bogey at the fifth, finishing with a two-over par 74 for 280.

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"I got a lot of bad breaks today," Rahm said. "Anytime I was in the rough I was just dead as could be."

However, Rahm noted: "I can guarantee you one thing, if you're in the fairway you don't get bad breaks. Just have to play better."

AFP