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.