Saturday marked one of the most important days of Max Homa’s professional life.
His scintillating final-round 66 on Torrey Pines’ brutish South Course earned him his sixth PGA Tour victory — and his first as a father. He came from five shots back to catch 54-hole leader Sam Ryder plus thoroughbreds like Jon Rahm and Tony Finau. He cemented his victory with clutch birdies at 16 and 18. And he earned $1.57 million in the process.
Monday? Homa was back to playing where it really matters: The skins game at his local muni.
Screenshots of the results from Papago — a city-owned course not far from the Phoenix airport — quickly went viral after Homa’s score (five-under 67) was posted by Monday Q Info on Twitter alongside his winning total for low gross: $400.
That wasn’t all: Homa racked up additional earnings for his back-nine 31 ($60), for finishing T2 in par-3 scoring ($80.50), for making a 2 ($27) and for finishing second in “final five” scoring ($110). We put our best math guys on it and tallied up a total of $677.50. Well earned, I’d say.
So what was this game, anyway? Monday may have been the world’s introduction to the Papago Skins, but we at Muni Monday wrote about it in December 2020. Our Josh Sens recalled a story of Joel Dahmen teeing it up at Papago to get some competitive reps between PGA Tour starts.
“Though the stakes were nothing close to professional purses, some of the competition was about as stiff,” he wrote.
I wrote a story on Homa for the January issue of GOLF and he said part of the appeal of living in Scottsdale is the omnipresence of serious golfers.
“It doesn’t make you cool or special to play golf here,” he said. “That’s what I like about it.”
It’s not uncommon to see Tour winners at Papago — not just Homa and Dahmen but guys like Pat Perez and Martin Laird — alongside countless low-handicaps, college players and mini-tour guys. Griffin Wood, Monday’s runner-up, played on PGA Tour Canada last year, while Matt Marshall (T3) has played Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour Canada. The same is true for a smattering of golfers down the results list; these dudes can play. Some of ’em can carry, too: Tom Kim’s caddie Joe Skovron was among those who made $27 for a 2 on his card.
In that 2020 article, Papago’s general manager Daryl Crawford said the course has always been attractive to top players.
“If you’re serious about golf, this is the kind of place where you want to test yourself,” he said.
The course, designed by Billy Bell, was originally built in 1963 and even then measured nearly 7,000 yards, making it a big-time test for persimmon players. Billy Mayfair was among the pros who developed his game at Papago. It hosted big-time events, from the 1971 U.S. Public Links to the 2009 fill-in host course for the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International.
Of late Papago has turned into a dreamy collegiate destination, too; Arizona State calls the course home. Their 7000-square foot golf facility and epic short-game facility have few rivals across college golf.
In other words, Papago isn’t like most munis. Nor is its Monday competition like most skins games.
Especially this week’s.
This is part of our Muni Monday series, spotlighting stories from the world of city- and county-owned golf courses around the world. Got a muni story that needs telling? Send tips to email@example.com and follow Muni Mondays on Instagram.