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Max Homa wins at Riviera to join L.A. champions

Max Homa at 2021 Genesis Invitational round 1
Max Homa wins the Genesis Invitational, his hometown PGA Tour event, at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

Homa claims Genesis Invitational on 2nd hole of playoff against Tony Finau, teaming with Dodgers, Lakers as toast of Tinseltown

Move over, Dodgers and Lakers. Los Angeles has got a new hometown champion.

Max Homa prevailed on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff against Tony Finau on Sunday at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., to win the Genesis Invitational, his hometown PGA Tour event (scores).

“I’ve been watching this tournament my whole life,” said Homa, 30, who was born in Burbank, grew up in Valencia, just north on I-5 from Los Angeles and won the 2013 NCAA title while at Cal. “I had good feelings this week. I'm in the city of champions now, with the Dodgers and Lakers.”

The Dodgers and Lakers needed only six games apiece to clinch their respective MLB and NBA titles in recent months, but Homa had to go extra innings to win the tournament formerly known as the Los Angeles Open.  

Homa lipped out a 3-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole that would have sealed the title outright. He tapped in for a 5-under 66 and met Finau, who closed with a 7-under 64 for a 12-under 272 total, on the 10th tee. They matched pars at the drivable 315-yarder after Homa negotiated a near-stymie next to a tree left of the green. At the next hole, the par-3 14th, Finau tugged his tee shot into the left-hand bunker and failed to save par, and Homa two-putted to win.

Sam Burns, who led after each of the first three rounds and through the front nine Sunday, faded with three bogeys on the back nine and finished third at 11-under 273. The tournament was the final stop on the PGA Tour's five-event West Coast Swing.

Homa, whose other victory on the PGA Tour came in 2019 at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C., at the Wells Fargo Championship, said he likes to play the Tour’s toughest tracks.

“I think I have a game that fits difficult golf courses,” Homa said, “and I finally have built a mind that fits difficult golf courses.”

Finau remains stuck on one victory in 173 career starts on the PGA Tour, recording a fourth consecutive close call.

Finau birdied two of his last three holes after his only misstep of the day, a bogey after a bunkered tee shot at the par-4 15th, to match Burns’ first-round 64 for the low round of the week. Finau’s hard-luck runner-up at Riviera followed consecutive T-2s worldwide – at the European Tour’s Saudi International and at the Farmers Insurance Open – after a fourth-place finish at The American Express.

“Right now, I’m disappointed,” Finau said. “I shot 64 today on a day when I needed to, just to get into the playoff. As I look back on the week in the next couple days, there’s going to be a lot to grow from. Today’s round was pretty special. I was able to make some key putts in regulation, just to keep myself in it. I fell short, but I take a lot of positives.”

Finau has recorded eight runners-up in the past 3½ seasons as he continues to seek to add to his 2016 Puerto Rico Open victory.

“I never get tired of playing good golf, and that's what I tell myself every week,” Finau said. “At the end of the day, you're going to lose a lot more times than you're going to win on the PGA Tour.”

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