Max Homa defeats Tony Finau in a playoff to win hometown Genesis …

Genesis Invitational

Max Homa defeats Tony Finau in a playoff to win hometown Genesis …

Now, credit Homa with a second PGA Tour title. And its a big one for the Los Angeles native: the first-place check is good for $1,674,000 and with it comes a three- …

Max Homa wins Genesis Invitational in playoff against Tony Finau

Max Homa defeats Tony Finau in a playoff to win hometown Genesis Invitational

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February 21, 2021 6:52 pm

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February 21, 2021 6:52 pm

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — Max Homa came into the Genesis Invitational having made five straight cuts, including a tie for seventh last week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Credit for Homa.

Now, credit Homa with a second PGA Tour title. And it’s a big one for the Los Angeles native: the first-place check is good for $1,674,000 and with it comes a three-year PGA Tour exemption.

On Sunday, Homa gave chase from ahead, playing in the second-to-last group at Riviera Country Club. When 54-hole leader Sam Burns bogeyed the 14th hole, Homa moved into a tie for the lead at 11 under. Homa kept bogey off his final-round scorecard while stacking up five birdies, including one on the 17th hole to get to 12 under.

Genesis Invitational:  |  |

Tony Finau was already in the clubhouse after shooting a final-round 64—tied for low round of the week—to get to 12 under. Homa striped his tee shot on 18 a massive 339 yards and then stuffed his approach to a back pin to about four feet. One more birdie would win it.

But Homa lipped out on the left side to finish regulation at 12 under.

He talked about that short miss after his round.

“This morning my wife gave me a piece of advice, there were a few bullet points, one of them was forgive quickly. She called me after, told me to do that and it was kind of perfect because I played a pretty perfect round of golf, very flawless, so what was there to be too mad about. I was about to be in a playoff at the place I first fell in love with golf.”

So off to a playoff they went, Homa v. Finau, starting on the famed 10th hole at Riviera.

After Finau drove his ball to the left of the green, Homa parked his tee shot up against a tree. But he managed to get a good swipe at the ball and knock it up on the green.

Incredible chip from the tree from Homa. 👏

Both players will have birdie putts upcoming.

— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR)

A heck of a play there for Homa, who would miss the birdie putt but watched Finau also miss his birdie try, so on to the 14th they went.

On the par-3 hole, Finau pulled his ball in the left greenside bunker, while Homa hit the green, his ball stopping about 12 feet away. Homa missed his birdie try but then Finau, facing a nearly identical putt, also missed, giving Homa the win.

For the hometown guy, this ranks above everything else.

“1-A, 1-B, 1-C. I don’t know if I could ever do anything cooler in golf than this. Just for me, for my caddie Joe, we were raised 25 miles north of here. I mean, 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,” Homa said. “It feels like it just can’t be topped just for me.”

Homa opened the week with a 66 and then posted back-to-back 70s to get into contention. The Genesis marks his first Tour victory since the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.

What did he and Woods discuss at the trophy presentation?

“I told him I was embarrassed I missed a shortie in front of the most clutch athlete ever,” Homa said of his putt in regulation on 18. “But that was a surreal moment. I have looked up to Tiger my entire life, and to be standing anywhere with him let alone with the trophy in between us was pretty cool.”

Tony Finau plays a shot on the 13th hole during the final round of the 2021 Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club on February 21, 2021 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Finau came into the Genesis riding a hot streak. He posted a solo fourth at the American Express one month ago, a tie for second at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines the next week and then a tie for second at the Saudi International two weeks ago.

“Right now I’m disappointed,” Finau said after the playoff. “But man, I shot 64 today on a day where I needed to just to get into the playoff. I think as I look back on the week in the next couple days there’s going to be a lot to grow from. Today’s round was pretty special. I was able to make some key putts in regulation just to keep myself in it. Yeah, you know, I fell short, but I take a lot of positives.”

Sam Burns, aiming to go wire-to-wire at Riviera, had a three-shot lead on Homa and Finau after he birdied the ninth but he faltered down the stretch with bogeys on Nos. 12, 14 and 15. He did birdie 17 but parred 18 to miss the playoff by a shot to finish solo third at 11 under.

Cameron Smith finished solo fourth at 9 under. Jon Rahm, who stuck around and followed the playoff, finished tied for fifth at 7 under along with Viktor Hovland and Matthew Fitzpatrick.

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson shot a final-round 72 to finish at 6 under alongside Wyndham Clark, Matt Jones and new Riviera member Francesco Molinari.

Other notables: Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay, T-15; Rickie Fowler T-20, his best finish this season and his best finish since a T-15 at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational last August; Jim Furyk, T-26; Brooks Koepka and defending champ Adam Scott, T-38; Collin Morikawa, T-43.

Weather conditions on Sunday were just about perfect, a stark contrast to the high winds and fast golf course the players encountered on Saturday, which saw to the blustery conditions.

Next up: the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Florida, which starts on Thurday.

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