Max Homa rides brilliant weekend play to Fortinet Championship title
Jim Knous and Maverick McNealy held the 54-hole co-lead at the Fortinet Championship in Napa, Calif., and both were after that career-changing first PGA Tour victory. Could either get it done? Or would a Tour veteran chase them down? Here’s how Sunday at Silverado Resort and Spa went down.
Who won: Max Homa (seven-under 65, 19 under overall)
How it happened: McNealy was three under on the front on Sunday and turned in 17 under overall, enough for a two-shot lead over Marc Leishman, who shot 65, and a group of others stuck at 14 under. Max Homa took a big bite into the lead with a hole-out eagle on 12 to get within a stroke, and his birdie on 13 — he drained a 21-footer — tied him at the top. As McNealy couldn’t do any better than pars to start his back nine, Homa took the lead on the par-5 16th, two-putting for birdie and getting to 18 under. McNealy tied Homa with his own birdie on 16, but it didn’t last long. On the 17th, Homa rolled in a big breaking right-to-left putt to regain the solo lead at 19 under. Minutes later, a wayward drive on 17 led to a disastrous double bogey for McNealy. His approach from 189 yards missed the green, and he two-chipped and two-putted for a 6. That gave Homa a three-shot lead, and his par on the 18th was plenty good enough to shut the door. Homa finished the weekend with back-to-back 65s, and his Sunday 65 was tied with Leishman for the low round of the day. McNealy drained a long eagle putt on the 72nd hole to shoot 68 and finish solo second, one behind Homa, but the double bogey came back to haunt him.
Why it matters: It’s the third PGA Tour win for Homa, 30, who also won the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship and 2021 Genesis Invitational.
Best (almost) story: Knous, who was tied for the co-lead after 54 holes, shot a 74 and tied for 11th. The 31 year old is playing on a Korn Ferry Tour Medical Extension, and this was one of his last two starts to earn 152.463 FedEx Cup points to gain full PGA Tour status. He needed a win, a six-way tie for second or a two-way tie for third on Sunday. He earned 61.400 points and is now 3.516 points short of conditional status (126-150 category), which he’ll have one more start to try and secure.
Best shot: Homa had 95 yards for his approach into the par-4 12th. He drew this one up perfectly, holing out for eagle and moving to within one of the lead.
Up next: The PGA Tour will break as 24 of the world’s best players meet for the Ryder Cup. The Tour resumes with the Sanderson Farms Championship on Sept. 30-Oct. 3.