Max Homa’s heroics lead to Farmers Insurance Open win

Max Homa of the United States reacts to a putt on the 16th green during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open on the South Course of Torrey Pines Golf Course on January 28, 2023 in La Jolla, California.

Max Homa made a clutch birdie on 16 to take control.

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It didn’t matter how hard the 16th hole at Torrey Pines was playing to Max Homa Saturday during the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open.

The cliffside par-3 was set up at 227 yards, into the wind, with the pin tucked on the left side of the green. It was the hardest hole on the course Saturday at nearly a half-stroke over par, having given up just one birdie.

Homa took dead aim.

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His approach settled just 15 feet from the hole — the best of the day — and he rolled in the putt to regain a share of the lead at 12 under with overnight leader Sam Ryder.

The roar caught up to Ryder, just a hole behind on 15, where he was already scrambling for par after hacking out of the thick rough. His pitch bounded over the green and the 33-year-old made double, all but sinking his hopes for a first career PGA Tour win.

Homa got up and down on the par-5 18th for birdie and a 66 to notch his sixth career victory by two strokes in come-from-behind fashion.

It was the first win for Homa as a father. He and his wife Lacey welcomed a baby boy, Cam, late last year and Homa got emotional in the moment speaking with CBS.

“I am not going to cry today. A couple days ago, I finally made a birdie in front of Cam, [caddie Joe Greiner] said, ‘Way to make a birdie for him,'” Homa told Amanda Ballionis Renner after the win. “You know what happened today. So, yeah, it was great.”

Ryder started the day with a two-stroke lead over Jon Rahm, who was seeking to reclaim World No. 1 and his third-straight win. But the day began sour for the hottest golfer on the planet with a bogey on the first as Ryder made birdie to double his lead. Rahm was as many as four over on the day but had a mini-rally to finish with a 74 and tie for seventh, four places shy of a chance to move back to No. 1.

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Several other top pros like Collin Morikawa (solo third) and Keegan Bradley (solo second) challenged the lead throughout the day, but Homa was the only one to claim a share of the lead with Ryder. Homa made up his five-stroke deficit to begin today with a bogey-free four-under front nine.

“Obviously there’s a ton of great players. That board was stacked,” Homa said. “But I just had to know that it’s obviously a hard golf course. I just have to keep hitting good shots and keep hitting good putts. And you’re going to make bogeys. You’re going to make birdies. Winning takes a lot of luck, but it just takes a lot of patience.”

Homa’s birdie on 16 broke the stalemate while Ryder stumbled to the finish with a 75 and tie for fourth.

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