NAPA, Calif. (AP) – Max Homa chipped in from nearly 33 feet for birdie on the final hole, then watched Danny Willett shockingly three-putt from inside 4 feet on Sunday to give Homa his second straight title at the Fortinet Championship.
Homa high-fived his box when his ball hit the mat and fell. His previous shot from a nearby bunker was not high on the green at the par-5 18th hole. Willett, meanwhile, held a one-shot lead in the rain-soaked PGA Tour season opener and holed his third shot to 3 feet, 7 inches.
He smashed his first putt 4 feet, 8 inches into the face, then missed the backhander to give Homa his fifth win of the tour.
“Things happen to them. Fortunately we’ve been in good shape all week and unfortunate things happen when you feel you need it the most,” said Willett, who is unbeaten in the United States since taking advantage of Jordan Spieth’s fall to the To win the 2016 Masters.
Homa closed with a 4-under 66 for a total of 16-under 272 and now heads to Charlotte, North Carolina, as the captain’s choice for the Presidents Cup with three wins in the last 12 months. Willett shot a 69. Taylor Montgomery was alone in third at 13 under after a final 64.
Almost four hours were put under the pressure of the leaders in an attempt to make the round before the North course at Silverado Resort & Spa became completely unplayable. Greens that had been hard and fast earlier in the week from the sun and wind were suddenly quite the opposite, slow and soft from all the water.
Justin Lower held a one-stroke lead going into the final day as he chased his first title after years of struggling just to get his tour card. The 33-year-old American finished tied for fourth with Byeong Hun An at 12 under after shooting 1-over 73.
Willett birdied three holes on the front nine to take a three-stroke lead, but missed a short par putt on the par-5 ninth as Lower birdied to pull back within a stroke.
Homa and Willett kicked off the day with a head-to-head Lower Lower. All three players managed to win the par-4 10th.
On the par-4 14th, Willett made a miraculous birdie. His home shot landed behind a tree, and then hit the ball around him to the back of the rim before going under the 5-foot stick.
On the front nine, Willett birdied Nos. 1, 4 and 8 – making a 7-footer for birdie on the par-4 eighth and Lower made bogey.
The 34-year-old Willett, from Sheffield, England, stayed loose, laughed with his caddie and smiled between holes in far from ideal conditions in California’s famous wine country: wind and heavy rain the first three holes, a brief respite, then bigger. rain He regularly toweled off his clubs, cleaning his shoes before putting on and taking off his black sleeveless vest.
Due to the weather there was a dense gallery of umbrella mortals willing to brave the elements.
“It’s what I came to California for,” Willett cracked with a grin early in the final round.
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