Cal's Homa claims the NCAA medalist behind 66
PHOTOS: NCAA Championship (Final Round of Stroke Play)
Look at images from Thursday at Capital City Club: Crabapple Course during the Men's final round of stroke play.
MILTON, Ga. - Déjà vu, anyone?
California’s Max Homa and coach Steve Desimone stood in 18th fairway on Thursday laughing.
In September, Homa and Desimone stood in almost the exact same spot for the Ping/Golfweek Preview with almost the same yardage needing a birdie to share the title with host Georgia Tech.
“He said, ‘Coach I like that (yardage),’ " Desimone said. "He stuck it to 7 or 8 feet, and made birdie."
Only this time was a little bit different.
Homa was up by three shots and trying to win the school's first NCAA individual golf title. With a final-round, bogey-free 4-under 66, he secured the title at the Capital City Club’s Crabapple course.
“I’m as excited as I can be. This is the biggest accomplishment of my life,” said Homa, a senior from Valencia, Calif. “Obviously the team (win) would be much better, but right now it feels really, really good.”
Trailing Arizona State’s Jon Rahm heading into the final round by a shot, Homa got off to the start he wanted. He birdied three of his first five holes, with putts of less than 12 feet.
On No. 8, he had a 40-foot putt to save par, and he drained it.
“That really settled me down,” he said. “It made me feel like everything was going to be all right.”
He proceeded to make one more birdie, on No. 12, when he stuck it to 10 feet again. That’s when Desimone realized that Homa was in the zone.
“Max just gets into these zones where he just does everything right," Desimone said, "and at that point I could see that he was in that type of rhythm."
His final five holes looked different than Wednesday’s second round. On Wednesday, he played Nos. 15-18 in 2 over, and that cost him a share of the 36-hole lead. In the final round he played steady golf: fairway, green, two-putt.
Homa will take about 30 minutes to celebrate. He’ll hang out with his teammates – his best friends – and soak it up.
“This is pretty good," Homa said. "I always test myself on when it counts, when the lights are on, what do you do."
The light was on today.