Max Homa Shoots 63. Wins BMW Charity Pro-Am.
Max Homa fired a bogey-free, 8-under 63 Sunday to win the BMW Charity Pro-Am and earn his first career title on the Web.com Tour.
Homa started the final round at Thornblade Club two shots off the pace but charged into contention with an eagle and two birdies in his first four holes and went on to finish at 20-under 266, one better than Jonathan Randolph (63), who posted his 19-under total and was hoping for a possible playoff. Blayne Barber (67), Jon Curran (66) and Kyle Reifers (66) all came close but wound up two shots back. Zach Sucher (65) was solo sixth in the Tour’s only event that pairs professionals with amateurs in a better-ball format over three different courses in the Upstate area. The win for the 23-year old native Californian was worth $117,000 and vaulted the 2013 NCAA Individual Champion from No. 64 to No. 9 on the money list.
“It’s surreal. It’s emotional,” said Homa. “I didn’t win a lot in college and to come out and do it quickly means a lot to me and gives me a lot of confidence for wherever I may wind up at the end of the year.” Homa and celebrity partner Janet Jones-Gretzky wound up tied for ninth in the pro-am portion of the event. The pair finished at 35-under par but well behind the 44-under total put up by
Canadian pro Adam Hadwin and hockey superstar, and Janet’s husband, Wayne Gretzky. Homa was treading water through the first 45 holes of the tournament and was hovering near the middle of the pack Saturday when things turned around. The former Walker Cupper chalked up five birdies in six holes to flip things around and finish with a 70 at The Reserve at Lake Keowee which left him only two shots off the 54-hole lead.
“We just got off to a terrible start there. My caddie and I talked about things at the turn and we just said let’s do the best we’ve ever done to turn over-par into under-par,” he said. “We posted that 32 and I knew I was riding some momentum. It was nice to keep it going today.”
A total of 33 players started the final round within five shots of the lead so the winner would have to do something special to emerge from the pack and Homa did that with his quick start. “This course fit my eye better than the others for some reason,” said Homa. “It was a huge start. It really set the tone because I didn’t have to play catch-up too much. It really calmed my nerves. I knew I had to keep my emotions in check.” Homa settled in nicely and wound up hitting 17 greens in regulation but admitted his nerves were also calmed by his actress playing partner. “She was so nice and it was cool playing with her,” he said of Jones-Gretzky. “It was fun to compete with her. It was great playing with someone so famous because I got to fly under the radar while she was getting all of the attention from the television cameras and fans.”
Homa, meantime, was weaving his way around the hilly terrain unaware he was in the lead until he noticed a scoreboard at the 17th hole. He stepped to the tee at the 491-yard closing hole knowing a par-4 would probably mean nothing worse than a spot in a playoff. “I hit a good 3-wood out there but left myself 200 to the pin,” he said. “I wanted to hit 6-iron but my caddie wanted me to hit 5 and cut it. I trust him so that’s what I did.”
Homa’s second wound up pin-high and he was facing a slick, downhill 35-footer. “I had the fastest putt I’ve ever had,” he said. “When you’re nervous like that your hands are like jello. I knew it was going to be fast and it would have gone a good six feet if it got past the hole. It was nice to cozy it up there to about a foot, but it still felt like six feet to me.”
One or six, it didn’t matter how many feet as Homa dropped the putt and then picked up the trophy.