After a rainy Sunday in Napa, California, American Max Homa, helped by Englishman Danny Willett, managed to defend his title in the first tournament of the PGA Tour season. This is the 3rd success in 24 tournaments for the new world number 16.
Danny Willett, results
It was on the 72nd green of the Silverado Resort & Spa and as victory was reaching out to the Englishman winner of the Masters in 2016 Danny Willett that the unthinkable happened that night in Napa.
First there was this birdie chip returned by defending champion Max Homa. A small miracle after a missed bunker exit which had just reduced his chances of dislodging the leader from first place to almost zero. Danny Willett, the other British from Sheffield with a major under his belt (Masters 2016) like Fitzpatrick, indeed seemed to be holding tight to his first success on the PGA Tour in the regular season.
A few moments earlier his 3rd shot, a wedge of about fifty meters, had come to rest just over 1 meter from the hole. But certainly a little stunned by what he had just witnessed, Willett then missed the inevitable twice. A putt for birdie synonymous with victory, then another small return putt which would have allowed him to defend his chances in the play-off.
3 putts from just 1 meter golf is cruel sometimes! Homa didn't ask for that much. This victory, his 4th in 41 tournaments propels him to 16th in the world and further justifies his selection to the American Presidents Cup team announced at the beginning of the month by Davis Love III.
He will therefore be in Quail Hollow this week, where he won his first success on the PGA Tour in 2019. He will defend, near Charlotte in North Carolina, the colors of his country against a selection of international players.
Note that for his first appearance in a PGA Tour tournament, Korn Ferry Tour promoter Taylor Montgomery finished only third, three strokes behind Homa. Great leaders of the event, the South Korean Byeong Hun An and the American Justin Lower had to settle for a top 5.