Max Homa birdied the 72nd hole on Sunday to win the Fortinet PGA Tour Championship for the second year in a row when Danny Willett collapsed on the final hole.
Homa shot a four-under par 68 at Silverado Resort in Napa, California, his 272-under 16 total giving him a one-shot win over England’s Willett, who missed a three-and-a-half-foot birdie putt on 18. that would have given him the victory.
“It was kind of the wild ending,” Homa said. “The last three minutes are a little blurry. But I played very good golf. I played solid.”
Willett is still in search of his first US PGA Tour title since his 2016 Masters win, though he has won twice since then on the DP World Tour.
He took a one-shot lead with a birdie on the 14th, where he drained a 15-foot putt from the rim after an impressive approach shot from behind a tree.
He seemed in command at the par five 18, where he hit his third 66-yard shot less than four feet from the pin while Homa was in a short bunker and to the left of the green.
Homa’s bunker shot missed the green and settled in a mowed ditch below the surface of the green, but his chip took a couple of small bounces and rolled towards the cup.
“I expected it to, but it’s still kind of shocking when it happens,” said Willett, who had an outstanding shot all week from 10 feet but couldn’t make his short birdie for the win.
He burned the left edge and couldn’t land, also missing the four-foot return en route to a three-under-par 69 that gave him a total of 273-under-par 15.
“Disappointing way to end, but you know, first off the season, to be in contention, things are in a good place. We’ll live to fight another day,” Willett said.
American Taylor Montgomery, making his fifth start on the tour, braved the wet and cold conditions with eight birdies on an eight-under 64 to finish third on 275.
“Just a great week,” Montgomery said. “I don’t know anything about the PGA Tour and points and things like that, but I know that top 10s or top 5s are very important, especially for someone in my shoes.”
– Chip on the shoulder –
Overnight leader Justin Lower posted a 73 to share fourth place on 276 with South Korea’s An Byeong-hun, who posted a 71.
Homa’s win at Silverado was one of his last two seasons, and his defense is a warm-up for next week’s Presidents Cup matchup in North Carolina.
Homa admitted he was delighted to silence critics who suggested he only made it to USA captain Davis Love’s team due to big names being ineligible after defecting to the LIV Golf series.
“Honestly, I’ve had a lot of people, I know it’s just Twitter, but I’ve had people tell me if the LIV guys hadn’t left, I wouldn’t have made the Presidents Cup team,” Homa said.
“So I had a little chip on my shoulder this week.”