Player Diary: California's Max Homa (Part 8)
Believe it or not, this whole school thing can be pretty time consuming.
The last month has been a roller coaster of emotions. Two weeks ago at the Arizona State Thunderbird Invitational, we got to play a course we are very familiar with. It’s one where birdies are quite common, however double bogeys lurk on nearly half of the holes because there are plenty of water hazards.
Our game plan for the week was to not get caught up chasing birdies because of the potential consequences of being overly aggressive. The first two rounds were a bit of a struggle. I feel like the three week break we had from tournament golf led to some rust in our games. It is difficult to keep momentum in your game when such an extended break occurs.
Fortunately, we were not down by too many strokes entering the final round. We came out firing that morning, led by Joel Stalter, who I saw making a bunch of birdies. He gave us all life and everyone seemed to feed off of that. We finished off a great round and had to wait to see what UNLV would do on the final few holes since we teed off before them. Oddly enough, we had to head to the airport so we were watching updates on Golfstat. Nothing is more stressful than this. I don’t understand how all of you do it every week. In the end, we fell one shot short. Kevin Penner made a clutch birdie on the demanding 18th hole to seal it. Our hats were off to the Running Rebels. We were happy to put some pressure on them, but a great team like UNLV won’t be beaten with one good day. We learned each round needed to be played more sharply.
The very next week we traveled a mere 80 minutes to Santa Cruz to play at Pasatiempo CC, a famous Mackenzie golf course that is as hard as anything you will play. The green complexes are said to be as crazy as Augusta. Speaking of Augusta, we got to watch our teammate Michael Weaver play in the Masters. It was unbelievably surreal and tons of fun.
Without Michael and Coach Desimone, who was also at Augusta for the first two rounds, we had to make sure to be extra disciplined. We kind of struggled in the first round, but when the winds picked up in Round 2, the team really stepped up and chipped away at the lead. We worked ourselves into a more manageable deficit.
Our goal the next day was to play as patiently as possible, and assistant coach Walter Chun told us how we hadn’t made tons of putts so we were all due. He was spot on with that observation. The next morning everyone was hitting on all cylinders. We all played great, and we needed every bit of it since we were trying to surpass UCLA, a team that is very deep and talented. Playing with the individual champion and my good friend, Pedro Figueiredo, was a lot of fun. He played awesome and deserved the win. Also, getting to play with my teammate and little brother, Michael Kim, for three rounds was a blast. We had plenty of laughs and kept ourselves positive.
The team victory felt great for a couple reasons. First, bouncing back from the close loss was great. More importantly, however, was playing well in front of all of our friends, family, and supporters. That means the most to us. I love feeling all of the support, and I feel like the best way to give back to them is by showing your heart and playing good golf. Thank you to all who came out. My last regular season is over and I’m starting to feel old. But don’t mind me, I’ll still try and keep up with these young pups like fellow blogger, Justin Thomas. Congrats to them on winning back-to-back conference championships.
Meanwhile, we head to Southern California for the Pac-12 Championship next week. I can’t wait to get down to Los Angeles and tee it up again.
I hope everyone is alright following the Boston Marathon disaster. What a shame it was, but I enjoyed seeing all of the great people out there who stepped up to help. The good outweighs the bad in this country, and it’s beautiful to see so many people come together. God bless America!
If you would like to follow me on Twitter for golf updates and/or for some laughs, my name is @maxhoma23.