Danny Willett collapses on the final hole to give Max Homa PGA Tour victory

Danny Willett collapses on the final hole to give Max Homa PGA Tour victory

Danny Willet struggles to hide his shock after three putts on the final green of the Fortinet Championship – GETTY

Danny Willett suffered a golfer’s worst nightmare Sunday night when he first missed a three-foot shot to win on the PGA Tour, then pulled the resulting tiddler to miss a playoff.

Max Homa couldn’t believe his luck. Walking to the final green of the Fortinet Championship, the American was almost resigned to seeing his English playing partner take the winning check for £1.27m.

Homa was one behind and still off the green at three on the par five, while Willett was close and looking good for a birdie. Even with defending champion Homa chipping in, it looked like Willett would lift his first title on American soil since the 2016 Masters.

But then came Willett’s shocking 3-pointer, having just missed the hole with his first effort, and Homa was suddenly celebrating his fourth win in the past two years. In true Yorkshire fashion, the 34-year-old Willett took defeat on the chin, despite realizing the collapse had cost him nearly £500,000, the difference between first and second.

“We will live to fight another day,” he said. “It’s a shame how it ended, but I’m pretty sure those are the only short putts I’ve missed all week. It’s a shame to do it when I did it. One of those things. Sometimes you wish you could rewind time. We learn from it and move on.”

This would have been Willett’s first success in 12 months and would have brought him back to the brink of the top 50 in the world after an indifferent season.

But he must and will take the positives from a week in Napa, Calif., in which he hit 15-under and played some wonderful shots, particularly the 14th in his final-round 69, where he looped it around a tree at 15 feet.

His display bodes well for his defense at next week’s Dunhill Links Championship in Fife, where he will try to emerge as a serious contender for next year’s Ryder Cup.

Max Homa is greeted by Danny Willett on the 18th green after winning the Fortinet Championship - AP

Max Homa is greeted by Danny Willett on the 18th green after winning the Fortinet Championship – AP

“Obviously I’m going to remember that last putt, but it was a good week overall and it was good to be in the fight basically from Friday,” he said. “Things are in a good place.”

For his part, Homa felt he had vindicated his place on the American side for this week’s President’s Cup in North Carolina. Davis Love chose the debutant as one of his six wildcards and was cruelly mocked on social media.

“A lot of people have told me that if the LIV guys hadn’t left, I wouldn’t have been on the Presidents Cup team,” he said. “So I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder here.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.