Two years after Max Homa played only one Sunday in an entire PGA Tour season, he showed his mettle at Quail Hollow by closing with a 4-under 67 to pull away from the field and win the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C.
Homa began the back nine with two birdies to build a four-shot lead and didn’t make any mistakes until it only affected the final margin.
“Over the moon, man,” he said before going to sign his card. “It means a lot to do it under pressure.”
Joel Dahmen, a Clarkston native, saved par with a tough chip over the creek for a 70 and finished three shots behind.
“I didn’t beat myself today, which was kind of the goal,” Dahmen said. “Max is playing awesome. He’s a good friend. I think we’re going to celebrate tonight.”
Homa, who won the NCAA title at Cal in 2013, won for the first time in his 68th start as a pro. The victory gets him into the PGA Championship in two weeks at Bethpage Black and the Masters next April.
But what a turnaround for the 28-year-old Californian.
Homa was at No. 829 in the world when he got his third crack at the PGA Tour in October. Two seasons ago, he made only two cuts in 17 tournaments, missing the 54-hole cut in one of them and finishing last at an opposite-field event in the other.
But he made six of seven cuts coming into Quail Hollow, and played like he belonged. Homa never flinched, effectively sealing it with a long shot up the hill and onto the green at the par-5 15th for a two-putt birdie, saving par to keep a three-shot lead going to the final hole and drilling his tee shot down the fairway. He wrapped it up with a 10-foot par putt to finish at 15-under 269.
The victory was worth $1,422,000 – about $454,000 more than he had made in his previous 67 starts – and gives him a two-year exemption, along with a tee time at Bethpage Black in two weeks. The only other major Homa played was the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, a month after his NCAA title.
Dahmen held his own until costly bogeys around the turn. But that chip was on the 18th for par to finish alone in second meant a difference of $158,000.
Justin Rose (68) finished alone in third and moved ahead of Brooks Koepka to No. 2 in the world.
Sei Young Kim overcame a rough start to win the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship at cold and windy Lake Merced in Daly City, California, outlasting Bronte Law and Jeongeun Lee6 with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff.
Three strokes ahead entering the day, Kim opened with a double bogey and a bogey and dropped another stroke on No. 8. The 26-year-old South Korean birdied the par-5 15th to regain a share of the lead, dropped back with a bogey on the par-3 17th and birdied the par-5 18th for a 3-over 75 and a spot in the playoff at 7-under 281.
Law closed with a 65, finishing more than two hours before Kim, and Lee6 had a 67.
Kim won for the eighth time on the LPGA Tour, improving to 4-0 in playoffs. She nearly retraced her regulation path on the 18th in the playoff, almost driving into her own divot and hitting another 4-iron from 199 yards a foot closer than before onto the front right fringe.
Law left her approach short and right and pitched to 6 feet. Lee6’s approach bounced into the middle of the green, leaving her a 40-foot eagle putt that she hit 6 feet past. After Kim putted to 2 feet, Law missed her birdie putt to the right, and Lee6’s try went left. Kim then ended it.
Law, the 24-year-old former UCLA star from England, missed a chance to tie the LPGA Tour record for the largest comeback at 10 strokes. She made five birdies in a six-hole stretch in the middle of the round and reached 7 under with a 4-wood to 4 feet for eagle on No. 15.
Lee6 played the final four holes in regulation in 4 under, holing a 12-footer for eagle on 15 and making birdies on 16 and 18. The 22-year-old South Korean has the number in her name because she was the sixth player with the name on the Korean LPGA. She has embraced the number, answering to it and writing a large “6” on her balls. Her South Korean fan club is called “Lucky 6.” Jeongeun Lee5 also plays the LPGA Tour.
Scott McCarron won the Insperity Invitational in The Woodlands, Texas, for his 10th PGA Tour Champions victory and second in three weeks.
The 53-year-old McCarron held off Scott Parel by two strokes, closing with a 5-under 67 to finish at 17-under 199 and match Fred Couples (2010) for the best score since the event moved to The Woodlands Country Club in 2008.
McCarron won the Mitsubishi Electric Classic two weeks ago in Georgia, then teamed with Brandt Jobe to tie for fifth last week in Missouri in the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf . The former UCLA player who won three times on the PGA Tour.
Parel shot a 66. He also finished second last month in Mississippi, losing to Kevin Sutherland on the seventh hole of a playoff.
After Parel birdied the par-5 15th to pull within a stroke, McCarron hit a 6-iron to a foot for birdie on the par-3 16th to push the advantage back to two shots. Parel missed a chance to pull within one on the par-4 17th when his 3-foot birdie putt caught the left edge and lipped out.
Both players parred the par-4 18th, with Parel forced to scramble after driving well left off a cart path and nearly into a garbage basket.
McCarron took a three-stroke lead into the final round, overcoming a stiff neck to shoot 67-65 in a 34 1/2-hole Saturday after most of the play Friday was wiped out because of lightning and heavy rain.
McCarron earned $330,000 and increased his lead in the season-long Charles Schwab Cup standings.
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