SAN DIEGO (AP) — Max Homa did what his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers couldn’t do in October — win in San Diego.
The L.A.-area native came from five shots off the lead to win the Farmers Insurance Open by two strokes over Keegan Bradley on Saturday at Torrey Pines, where Jon Rahm imploded early and missed a shot at winning his third straight start and moving to No. 1 in the world.
Homa reeled in Sam Ryder, who was trying for a wire-to-wire win, and then held off Bradley and Collin Morikawa for his sixth PGA Tour victory and fourth in his home state. He took the Genesis at Riviera in 2021 and has won the Fortinet Championship in Nampa in consecutive years.
Homa closed with a 6-under 66 to finish at 13-under 275. He made a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 18 and pumped his right fist before greeting wife Lacey and infant son Cam just off the green.
Homa was born in Burbank and lives in Valencia just north of L.A. He played collegiately at Cal. He’s a fan of the Lakers and Dodgers, who lost to the Padres in the NL Division Series, with the clincher coming in San Diego. Homa said he heard plenty of smack talk from Padres fans this week but didn’t respond, although he said his caddie, Joe Greiner, did.
#6. Thank u guys. That one was special #golf #pvo pic.twitter.com/UF4Vpnvbwj
— max homa (@maxhoma23) January 29, 2023
“It’s nice to win up and down the state of California and, you know, carry that L.A. logo on my head and in my heart, me and Joe,” Homa said. “I don’t talk back to anybody in the crowd about the Dodgers-Padres thing, but Joe does. So I enjoy listening to him talking trash back to them.”
While many people know Homa as perhaps the funniest tour guy on Twitter, “I’m a pretty darn good golfer,” he said. “The results help you kind of build that foundation. I mean, I like to say dumb things and make dumb jokes and observe weird stuff and tweet about it. You know, kid, I guess.
“But when I work, when I practice and I play tournaments, this is what I love. I love what today was. It was incredible. So I don’t think anything’s changed too much. The confidence is becoming more steady.”
Bradley also shot a 66 on the South Course. Morikawa shot 69 and finished at 10 under. Ryder shot 75, his worst round of the week, and tied for fourth with Sahith Theegala (70) and Sungjae Im (70) at 9 under.
Rahm shot a 74, his worst round of the week, and tied for seventh at 8 under with Jason Day (68), a two-time Farmers winner. Rahm got his first PGA Tour win here in 2017 and then won the U.S. Open in 2021 at the municipal course that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Rahm won The American Express at PGA West last weekend and at the Sentry Tournament of Champions three weekends ago at Kapalua.
Homa, playing in the group ahead of Ryder, Rahm and Tony Finau, took the lead at 12 under by curling in a 16-foot birdie putt on the par-3 16th after a 226-yard tee shot. Ryder, who wore magenta joggers, had a double-bogey 6 on the 15th to drop to 10 under.
Homa played the front nine in 4 under and drove the ball well enough to stay out of trouble, allowing his iron game to shine.
“You don’t need to be in the short grass all the time but you need to be in it to make birdies,” Homa said. “My iron game game has always kind of been my staple, I guess, what I’m most proud of in my game and it lends itself to that at this golf course.”
Ryder, who eagled his first hole of the tournament, was in a three-way tie for first after the opening round and had sole possession of the lead after the second and third rounds. At 33, he’s still looking for his first tour win.
“Yeah, there was definitely a lot of new pressure, but it was fun,” Ryder said. “I was trying to just enjoy it. Like you know, it was a good experience for me and I think it’s only going to feed me.”
After making an impressive run up the leaderboard on Friday to move into sole possession of second place, two shots behind Ryder, Rahm bogeyed No. 1 and missed a birdie putt by inches on No. 4 before his round fell apart on the par-4 No. 5.
Rahm drove into a fairway bunker and then flew the green into the thick rough. It took him three shots to chop his way out of the rough and by the time he sank a nine-foot putt, he had tumbled into a tie for fifth.
“I got a lot of bad breaks today,” Rahm said. “I can guarantee you one thing, if you’re in the fairway, you don’t get bad breaks. Just have to play better.”
DIVOTS: San Diegan Phil Mickelson, a defector to the LIV Tour, took a shot at Ryder’s pants when he tweeted: “The Tour doesn’t allow shorts but does allow this weeks leader to wear joggers with ankle socks? Showing 4 inches of ankle? I’m no fashion guy, never will be, but there are some things I won’t ever understand.”