Alumni Report: Homa's Riviera start a product of hard work
Ever wonder what happens to top amateurs after they pass through the web pages of AmateurGolf.com? Welcome to our series, the Alumni Report. Each week, we’ll profile a former AmateurGolf.com member now navigating the pro waters, providing a progress report and a snapshot of his or her amateur career.
A top-10 at Pebble Beach earned Max Homa a trip to Riviera (AGC photo)
When you’re just starting out as a professional, little is guaranteed. Young players live and die by a single position on the leaderboard, whether that means more or less cash, or a spot in the following week’s event.
Homa, a 28-year-old Cal alum, felt that this past week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Homa was 10 under and part of a three-way tie for 11th as Scott Piercy was finishing in a group behind him. Piercy was looking at 15 feet for birdie at No. 18, but he ended up taking three putts to get it in the hole. With that, Piercy dropped a shot to 10 under and suddenly Homa – plus Chris Stroud and Michael Thompson -- were tied for 10th, not 11th.
A top-10 finish one week automatically puts a player in the next week’s field, which is how Homa came to earn a spot in this week's Genesis Open at Riviera.
It’s not as if the top 10 was just dumb luck. Note that Homa logged closing rounds of 68-67 at Spyglass Hill and Pebble Beach, respectively, to even put himself in that position in the first place.
When Homa tweeted his good fortune, he was met with a wall full of memes. He’s a people’s champion, as San Francisco Chronicle golf writer Ron Kroichick noted in a recent profile on Homa
, and one who clearly gets social media.
“I probably have a fairly large fan base compared to what I deserve for my golf,” Homa told Kroichik.
Homa is playing out of Category 26 this season after graduating from the Web.com Tour last season. The opportunities have been there, but Homa’s game hasn’t. He missed the cut in six consecutive PGA Tour starts from October to January.
The past two weeks have been a different story. Homa finally broke through with a T-26 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Then, of course, came the top 10 and another guaranteed start – which is perfect timing considering that Homa’s game seems to be firing.
Since turning pro in 2013, Homa has had three career top 10s on the PGA Tour and has won two Web.com Tour events – the 2014 BMW Charity Pro-Am and the 2016 Rust-Oleum Championship.
In his first start on the PGA Tour – way back in 2013 at the Frys.com Open -- Homa took home a cool $135,000 with a T-9 finish.
As an amateur, the Burbank, Calif.-born Homa is probably most notable for his 2013 NCAA individual title while a member of a Bears team that won 12 times in one season. He played on the U.S. Walker Cup team that won the 2013 match at National Golf Links.
Outside those high-profile events, other notable amateur achievements include a runner-up at the 2012 California State Fair, a top-5 finish at the 2011 Players Amateur and a trip to the quarterfinals of the 2010 U.S. Amateur.
Homa played the AmateurGolf.com Silicon Valley Amateur – the most prestigious event on the AmateurGolf.com Tour – three times and won in 2011.