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Max Homa to compete in Walker Cup

Posted: July 17, 2013 4:30 p.m.
Updated: July 17, 2013 4:30 p.m.

Max Homa tees off during the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club on June 14 in Ardmore, Pa.

 

Consider this Max Homa’s final farewell to amateur golf.

Coming off a trailblazing, record-breaking senior season playing for the University of California, Berkeley, the 22-year-old Valencia High graduate decided against turning professional right away.

Homa wanted to remain an amateur golfer for one reason, and on Wednesday, his wish was granted.

He was one of the first five players named to the 2013 USA Walker Cup team, which means he’ll get to play in the prestigious international matchup from Sept. 7-8 at the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y.

The official announcement from the United States Golf Association was made live Wednesday on the Golf Channel, though Homa was notified the day before over the phone.

“I’m not a very emotional guy,” Homa said. “I didn’t cry or anything like that, but it hit me pretty hard. I felt like a I got a flood of emotions from a lot of hard work and stuff like that.”

Homa will be joined by former UC Berkeley teammate Michael Kim, in addition to Stanford golfer Patrick Rodgers and University of Alabama golfers Justin Thomas and Cory Whitsett.

“It’s awesome,” Homa said of playing with Kim. “He’s like my little brother.”

Before Homa, the only other Santa Clarita Valley product to play in a Walker Cup was Hart High graduate and longtime pro golfer Jason Gore, who played it in 1997.

The remaining five members of the 10-member U.S. team will be revealed later in the summer following the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship in August.

Once Homa finished his college career in June, he could have declared as a pro, which would have allowed him to win money at tournaments and seek sponsorship.

That was never the plan for the former Valencia High standout golfer though. After he was invited to a Walker Cup camp in December 2012, Homa was dead set on competing.

“I was looking at the experience and something that means something to me, and not just something that’s going to put money in my pocket,” he said.

The Walker Cup is one of the most prestigious amateur golfing events in the world, and it is played once every two years in a matchup between the 10 American players and 10 players from both Great Britain and Ireland.

The match will take place across two days and will feature 18 singles matches and eight foursome matches on the par-72, 6,986-yard course. It’s similar to the format of the Ryder Cup, which is the professional version of golf’s Europe vs. U.S. competition.

The Walker Cup has existed since 1922, and the United States leads the series 34-8-1.

After the event, Homa, the 15th ranked amateur in the world, said he’ll turn pro and try to get a few exemptions to tournaments on the Web.com Tour and PGA Tour. That will lead him up to PGA Qualifying School in late November.

“I think I’m ready, to be honest,” Homa said of the pro tour. “I know my game is on. I’ll need some more hard work — you can’t get good enough. I’ve just been playing good and it’s gotten me to a confident state.”

His game has been especially sharp in the last three months, which included the tail end of his most successful collegiate season on record, which included him winning UC Berkeley’s first-ever individual NCAA championship, as well as an individual Pac-12 title.

Homa was selected to the All-Nicklaus team and he was a first-team PING Division I All-American for the second year in a row. In addition, he was named to the All-West Region and All-Pac-12 first team.

This season, UC Berkeley won 12 out of the 14 stroke play tournaments it played, which set a modern-era NCAA record for a single season. Homa was one of the team’s top golfers throughout the year.

A few days after Homa concluded his collegiate career, he qualified for the U.S. Open, eventually competing in the event in mid-June.

Leading up to the Walker Cup, Homa is scheduled to play in the Porter Cup on July 24-27 in Lewiston, N.Y. and the U.S. Amateur in August.

It’s one big event after another for Homa. But all roads lead to September’s Walker Cup.

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