Max Homa shares the lead in quest to defend Fortinet Championship

Max Homa is seeking a title defense and his sixth career PGA Tour victory,

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Max Homa is riding high these days.

The 31-year-old is expecting his first child later this year; he’s a captain’s pick for Team USA at next week’s Presidents Cup, and he’s coming off the best PGA Tour season of his career, in which he posted two of his five total Tour wins.

Oh, and did we mention he’s leading yet again?

At the Fortinet Championship’s halfway point — the same tournament Homa won last year — Homa shares the lead with 2016 Masters Champion Danny Willett.

It’s been a dream start for Homa, and not only because he’s opened with rounds of 65-67 (-12), but also because of the company he’s kept on the course. For the first two rounds, Homa was paired with Cameron Champ and Homa’s former college teammate at UC Berkeley, Michael Kim.

Max Homa
Max Homa hilariously exposes a college teammate’s secret during press conference
By: Jessica Marksbury

“It was a great group,” Homa said after his round. “I get along with Cameron really well, obviously get along with Michael really well. It was one of those fun, fun groups, fun couple days. As much as it is competition in golf or whatever, it’s nice in between shots to talk and laugh a little bit.”

That type of familiarity and camaraderie can be hugely beneficial for a player, and Homa said he appreciates it when it happens.

“I noticed that I’ve played quite well at times when I’ve been in groups where I get along really well with the guys or talk a lot with them,” he said. “I felt when I won at Riviera on Sunday, getting to play with Matt and Talor was a big deal for me, so I kind of looked at that going forward.”

Things will be a bit more intense this weekend, as the pairings re-shuffle and Homa plays alongside his fellow contenders. But he says that’s something he’s learning to take in stride as well.

“You’re not always going to be really close to the guys you play with,” he said. “There’s a lot of guys out here, but I’ve been trying to do a little better job of, if I feel like talking, I talk, and if I don’t, I don’t. I’m trying not to just, even if I don’t know the guy too well, not shutting down and still try to be my jovial [self].”

With five wins already under his belt, there’s no doubt Homa will be feeling good about his chances of defending his title and claiming Tour win No. 6 — but with eight other players within five shots of the lead, there’s sure to be plenty of drama.

You can catch the Round 3 action in Napa on Saturday beginning at 6 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

jessica marksbury

Golf.com Photographer

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.