Homa gets another chance and wins hometown event at Riviera

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Max Homa le da un beso al trofeo en el green de prctica tras ganar el orneo Genesis Invitational en el club de golf Riviera Country Club el domingo 21 de febrero del 2021 en Los ngeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

LOS ANGELES – The dream of winning at Riviera felt too good to be true for Max Homa, and it nearly was.

Needing a birdie on the 18th hole Sunday to win the Genesis Invitational, he hit sand wedge to a back pin that settled 3 feet away, setting up the storybook finish for a guy who grew up 30 miles away and has been watching this tournament his whole life.

And then he missed.

His ball next to the base of a tree left of the 10th green on the first playoff hole, Homa hooded a gap wedge with enough top spin to scoot up the Kikuyu grass and onto the edge of the green, setting up par. Tony Finau missed a 7-footer, and Homa was happy just to get to the next hole.

Homa won on the second extra hole when Finau failed to save par from a bunker, missing a 10-foot putt.

The message from tournament host Tiger Woods at he trophy presentation: Way to hang in there.

Did he ever.

“I don't know if I could ever do anything cooler in golf than this,” said Homa, who closed with a 5-under 66 and played his final 26 holes at Riviera without a bogey. "Tiger Woods is handing us a trophy — that's a pretty crazy thought. We grew up idolizing him, idolizing Riviera Country Club, idolizing the golf tournament. To get it done, it's almost shocking.