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Max Homa, Valencia graduate, wins Pac-12 individual title

The UC Berkeley senior wins tourney by five strokes

Posted: May 1, 2013 7:53 p.m.
Updated: May 1, 2013 7:53 p.m.

University of California, Berkeley senior Max Homa, a Valencia High graduate, poses with a plaque after winning the individual Pac-12 Championship on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

 

Valencia High graduate Max Homa claims he was stressed out and nervous all week long.

His scorecards certainly haven’t reflected that.

Homa won the individual Pac-12 Men’s Golf Championship on Wednesday after shooting a 1-under 69 in the final round at the North Course of Los Angeles Country Club.

The round put him at 9-under at the end of the 72-hole tournament, which gave Homa the victory by five strokes over his University of California, Berkeley teammate Michael Weaver.

For Homa, a senior at Cal, it marks his first individual tournament victory of his collegiate career after numerous close calls through the years.

“It’s very validating for a lot of hard work,” Homa said. “But it means a lot. It was a great time. I only had three events left (in my college career) so I was going to have to get a win in one of those.”

Adding to the day’s accomplishments, the Golfweek.com No. 1 ranked Golden Bears also won the Pac-12 title as a team on Wednesday, giving them back-to-back conference crowns.

The victory gives Cal 10 tournament wins this season, which sets a new unofficial NCAA record for tournament wins in a season.

“It’s the most surreal thing I think,” Homa said of his team “No one can put it into words. We’re trying. It’s just so special. This team is so dedicated to the team and we’re just very good, top-to-bottom, and it all seems to be coming together.”

It especially came together this week for Homa, who started off the tournament by firing out a course-record round of 9-under 61 on Monday in the opening round.

He followed that up with three steady, efficient rounds of 70, 71 and 69 to finish it off of Wednesday. Homa led the field of 72 players from start to finish.

In all, he recorded 19 birdies and 10 bogeys for the tournament. The rest were pars.

“I made a bunch of good par putts that really helped this week,” Homa said, “but I think everything was just clicking pretty good.”

In his four-year career at Cal, Homa has recorded 14 top 10 finishes in tournaments, which included a co-first place finish at the John A. Burns Intercollegiate his sophomore year. He ended up losing that tournament in a three-way playoff.

But finally, this week, he broke through and got his first individual medalist honor.

“Anytime you’re a Pac-12 champion it lasts forever,” said Cal head coach Steve Desimone, according to a Cal press release. “Max has been overdue. He’s really played well in the last five or six weeks. He got the great start with the 61 in the first round and never looked back. When you win by five shots in a field like the Pac-12 Championship, you’ve done so many things right.”

The Pac-12 field included five teams ranked in Golfweek.com’s top 10 and several of the world’s top-ranked amateurs.

“Just to know I won in this conference, the best conference in the country, it means lot just to know I can play, as they say, ‘With the big boys,’” Homa said.

This week, Homa came in as 42nd in the World Amateur Golf Rankings. Given his win, he should move up significantly.

To close out his college career, Homa and his teammates will compete in an NCAA Regional beginning May 16. From there, Cal can qualify for the NCAA Championships starting May 28.

For now, Homa has some time to enjoy the moment.

“It’s very validating for a lot of hard work,” Homa said. “But it means a lot. It was a great time. I only had three events left (in my college career) so I was going to have to get a win in one of those.”

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