June 13, 2016
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
When Max Homa began his final round Sunday at the Rust-Oleum Championship just outside Chicago, he wasn’t aiming for the leader, whom he trailed by seven shots. No, although he erased that deficit and captured his second career Web.com Tour victory after a sizzling Sunday 67, he admitted after his win that he was actually going after the second-place score.
“When someone is running away with it, you want to shoot for second because it’ll get in your head if you took too far ahead,” he said. “But if I kept my game plan, I figured if I played really well I could shoot 7-under. If I felt I could do that, I might as well stick to it.”
Homa continued to say he tried to play the same as he had all week, but just make a few more putts and get a few more approach shots close. That’s exactly what happened, and he emerged victorious by one over John Mallinger and Josh Teater.
The native of California has missed only one cut in 2016, and by his own admission, he has played steady but not great. This week was a different story.
“The moment I stepped foot on the golf course I said, ‘Man, I can play well here,’” he admitted. “On the Web.com Tour you have a lot of golf courses where you have to shoot so low. It doesn’t matter how well you’re playing, you just need to get hot. That’s not something you can just flip, it’s a circumstantial thing. I’ve been making a lot of cuts, but I haven’t been putting up anything too low.”
“My game has been there, but I haven’t been warm,” he continued. “I don’t know if the golf course suited my eye, but I knew it would fit my game in the long run.”
They key for Homa, who now sits No. 9 on The 25, a jump from 52nd a week before, was on his iron-play this week.
“I put all the pressure on my mid-, short, and long irons and that’s where I like the pressure to be in my golf game,” he explained. “The course suited how I like to approach golf courses.”
And not only did Homa get a victory this week, he happily shared some congratulatory text messages with his friend Daniel Berger, who captured his first PGA TOUR win at the FedEx St. Jude Classic on Sunday.
“He’s an awesome player and I hope he can close the deal,” Homa said before Berger’s win was official. “That’d be cool for both of us, if we can both get a win today.”
Homa is thrilled to see the hard work he put in during the offseason paid off in spades this week.
“It’s a long offseason that feels like you’re just banging your head against the wall,” he said Sunday. “This is the biggest step you can make toward that goal (getting onto the PGA TOUR). The biggest thing is that I feel like I can breathe a little.”
“I put in a lot of work, and it’s tough when you don’t have anything to play for for four months. You’re just reflecting on the things you could have done better,” Homa continued.
Homa, who laughed and said his goal at the beginning of the year was to win three times, explained the victory doesn’t change his approach much for the balance of the season, except that his schedule may change slightly.
“We’re going to be playing a lot coming up and I was kind of panicking about what to do about that – whether or not I was going to just stick it out and play them all or what – but now I can manage that a little bit better,” he stated.
Regardless of his long offseason and steady, if unspectacular results, Homa is a winner (again) on the Web.com Tour, and he’s one step closer to his ultimate goal.
“This proves that if you stay the course, the good things will hopefully come,” he said. “Fortunately, I struck lightning this week.”
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