Home sweet Homa as Rahm’s number one bid collapses

Ronan MacNamara

Max Homa after winning the Farmers Insurance Open (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Max Homa came from five shots behind to claim his sixth PGA Tour victory at the Farmers Insurance Open in Torrey Pines as Jon Rahm’s bid to rise to number one in the world never got off the ground on Saturday.

Five of Home’s six wins on tour have been come from behind victories with the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship the exception in this remarkable run that also includes five wins in his last 45 events.

The American carded a six-under 66 to win by two strokes from Keegan Bradley on thirteen-under after 54-hole leader Sam Ryder saw his round come unstuck late on.

“It’s a beautiful game,” Homa said after winning for the first time as a father. “Sometimes you’re just one good swing thought away from being good again.”

Homa is a West Coast swing specialist after picking up his fourth win in the state of California – 2021 Genesis Invitational, 2021 Fortinet Championship, 2022 Fortinet Championship.

The 32-year-old dropped just the one shot on the par-4 14th after finding a brutally punishing lie in the right rough for his second shot, but he was flawless for the other 17 holes, carding seven birdies including two in his last three to clinch the title.

A birdie on the par-3 16th edged him one ahead of Bradley with the 2011 US PGA Champion unable to birdie the 18th and after Ryder had dropped a shot on 17, Homa knew a par would be enough.

A clever second shot on the par-5 18th left him at the back fringe and he two-putted for a routine birdie to win.

Nobody has more PGA Tour wins than Homa in the last 25 months as he also became the second player to earn multiple wins this season.

“I’m very proud of myself and my team. It was cool. A couple of days ago I finally made a birdie in front of Cam so yeah you know what happened today.

“Shoutout to Danielle Kang, she has six and a major I have six now so I’m coming DK.”

Homa has the word relentless tattooed on his arm and he feels his newfound mentality is the reason he has developed as a player.

“It’s a ton of patience and a lot of confidence, you know there’s a ton of great players and that board was stacked. It’s obviously a hard golf course and I have to keep hitting good shots and good putts. Winning takes a lot of luck and patience especially in final rounds, 18 holes is a marathon.

“It has taken me a little bit of time but I have a lot of great people who have been there in the ugly I could not have told you I would win six PGA Tour, events but I’m so proud of myself and my team.”

The result will feel harsh on Ryder who did very little wrong but never looked like taking the tournament by the scruff of the neck, unlike Homa who undoubtedly possesses the killer instinct when coming from behind.

Ryder was level par for his round after two birdies and two bogeys, standing on the 15th tee. His miss all day had been to the right and after drawing an unfortunate lie in the right rough he laid up short of the green but bizarrely three-putted from 15-feet for a costly double that saw his chances dashed.

A bogey on 17 put paid to his hopes of becoming the first wire-to-wire winner of the Farmers Insurance Open since 1982 and he had to settle for a share of fourth place on nine-under, four shots back after a 75.

Collin Morikawa (3rd), Sahith Theegala and Sungjaei Im (T4) ran out of holes but it was the challenge of Rahm or lack of that will also be a talking point.

Needing a fifth win in seven to overtake McIlroy as world number one, the Spaniard never got out of the blocks and limped to a final round 74 and an eight-under total for a share of 7th. It still means Rahm has not finished outside the top-8 in his last nine starts.

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