Max Homa wins Genesis Invitational playoff, hands Tony Finau another loss
A day after punishing the field with help from the wind, Riviera Country Club didn’t disappoint as the stage to an exciting Sunday finish at the Genesis Invitational, where it was Max Homa and not Tony Finau winning his second PGA Tour title in a playoff. Here’s everything you need to know:
Leaderboard: Max Homa (-12; won on second playoff hole), Tony Finau (-12), Sam Burns (-11), Cameron Smith (-9), Jon Rahm (-7), Viktor Hovland (-7), Matt Fitzpatrick (-7)
What it means: A few times on Sunday it looked as if Finau would no longer have to answer to people questioning why he hasn’t added to his maiden Tour win, which came at the 2016 Puerto Rico Open. But Homa had other plans, hitting some clutch shots down the stretch and overcoming a brutal lip-out on his 72nd hole to win for the first time since breaking through at the 2019 Wells Fargo Championship. The 30-year-old Homa, who was born in nearby Burbank, California, first attended the annual Riviera event when he was 2 years old. Finau, who bogeyed the second playoff hole, now has 10 runner-up finishes since his Puerto Rico win.
How it happened: Burns began Sunday’s final round with a two-shot advantage and chasing his first Tour victory. He wasn’t slow to get out of the gates, either. He birdied two of his first three holes and then stuck approach shots at Nos. 7 and 9 to set up two more birdies as part of a 4-under 31 on the opening nine. But the 24-year-old LSU product couldn’t sustain. He got a lucky bounce back in bounds after pulling his drive into the trees at No. 12, but he still bogeyed the hole. He’d also bogeyed Nos. 14 and 15 to fall out of the lead.
Meanwhile, Finau drained a 9-footer for birdie at the par-3 16th and followed with an up-and-down birdie at the par-5 17th hole to help grab the clubhouse lead at 12 under. Homa only carded two birdies on the back side yet teed off on No. 18 tied with the already finished Finau for the lead. Homa then stuck his approach shot from 128 yards to about 3 feet, only to lip out the birdie roll and send the tournament into a playoff.
Homa said he quickly forgave himself, which ended up helping him on the opening playoff hole, the par-4 10th, where Homa’s drive went long of the green and nestled up against a tree trunk. Needing to hook a chip, Homa somehow found the green and managed to tie the hole with par after Finau missed a hard-breaking 7-footer for the win. After Finau found sand off the tee at the par-3 14th, the second extra hole, Homa got aggressive and landed his tee shot left of the hole, about 12 feet away. Homa easily two-putted and Finau couldn’t get up and down to continue the playoff.
Round of the day: Finau’s closing 7-under 64 equaled his career-best final round on Tour and was two shots better than anyone else in the field on Sunday. He carded eight birdies, all but one of which came from inside of 10 feet.
Shot(s) of the day: The dart by Homa into No. 18 and his magical playoff escape on No. 10.
Biggest disappointment: Dustin Johnson. The world No. 1 kept pace early before fading mightily on the back nine. A sloppy bogey on the short par-4 10th hole low-lighted a stretch of five bogeys in eight holes. Johnson’s closing 72 left him six back of the playoff.
Quote of the day: “Been watching this tournament my whole life, it’s why I fell in love with golf – wow, didn’t think it’d be like this (choking up). Tiger another reason I’m into golf. Had good feelings this week. Been playing great. City of champions, you know – Dodgers, Lakers and me now, so it’s a weird feeling.” – Homa