2021 Genesis Invitational leaderboard grades Max Homa outlasts Tony Finau in playoff at Riviera

2021 Genesis Invitational leaderboard grades Max Homa outlasts Tony Finau in playoff at Riviera

2021 Genesis Invitational leaderboard grades Max Homa outlasts Tony Finau in playoff at Riviera

2021 Genesis Invitational leaderboard grades Max Homa outlasts Tony Finau in playoff at Riviera
2021 Genesis Invitational leaderboard grades Max Homa outlasts Tony Finau in playoff at Riviera
Play every golf tournament at Riviera Country Club. That’s the takeaway from Sunday’s thrilling finish and two-hole playoff between Max Homa and Tony Finau, which Homa went on to win in what is easily the most meaningful victory of the year. Homa called it his Masters after the round, and it certainly had the feel of a major championship for most of the day on Sunday.
The day started early with first, second and third-round leader Sam Burns (as well as several other players) finishing up a suspended third round at daybreak. Burns took a healthy two-stroke lead over Dustin Johnson, Homa and Matthew Fitzpatrick into the finale at a track that was fast, firm and ejecting players all over the place.
After a 31 on the front, Burns looked poised for the first PGA Tour win of his career. But he melted a bit coming home with a 38 on the back and opened the door to a field that was standing just beyond it. Homa and Finau walked through.
Homa, who dreamed of just playing in this tournament as a kid, shot a closing 66 to get into the playoff with Finau, but it ended with disaster. After striping his tee shot on the 72nd hole just behind Finau tidying up a round-of-the-day 64, Homa hit the shot he’s always imagined hitting: a baby draw to 40 inches to beat the best field of 2021.
Then he lipped out the putt.

It was as excruciating as golf gets, but it was somehow about to get worse. On the first playoff hole, Homa hit his shot out to the left and it nestled up next to a tree. His only shot was to hood a wedge and try to hook something onto the front of the green. He somehow did and made a 4 — same as Finau. It was the second straight day of miracle shots for Max on 10, which should be renamed the Homa Hole.

Homa made par at the second playoff hole as well, and a Finau bogey led to victory No. 2 in Homa’s career. The range of emotions from the stiffed iron on 18 to the missed putt to the stymie on No. 10 to the victory looked like a Jordan Spiethian roller coaster. It was more surprising that he was upright at the end of it all than the fact he won.
But the postscript was somehow better than the performance. After the green was cleared and Homa stepped up to the microphone, he immediately broke down. How could he not? When you care as much as Homa does and win at a place like this in the manner in which he did, words are paltry.
“I’ve been watching this tournament my whole life,” he said. “It’s the reason I fell in love with golf.”

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