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Valencia grad Homa in fourth place at NCAA golf championships

Posted: May 29, 2013 7:00 p.m.
Updated: May 29, 2013 7:00 p.m.

Valencia graduate Max Homa shoots during the NCAA golf championships at the Capital City Club Crabapple Course in Milton, Ga.

 

Pac-12 individual champion.

All-American candidate.

Individual national champion?

It’s realistic for Valencia High graduate Max Homa.

The Cal golfer is tied for fourth place at 5-under after 36 holes at the NCAA Division I National Championship with 18 to play today at the Capital City Club Crabapple Course in Milton, Ga.

Homa, who shot an even-par 70 on Tuesday, followed that up with a 5-under 65 on Wednesday.

His Cal golf team has moved up to second overall in the 30-team field, trailing host school Georgia Tech by a single stroke (12-under to 11-under). With a solid day today on the final day of stroke play, Cal will reach the eight-team match-play portion of the event beginning Friday.

The eighth-place team currently is Texas A&M, which is at even par.

So Homa could be a double national champion.

“Ever since I got here, I’ve been team first,” Homa said. “If I won the individual and not as a team it would be sour. It’s not something I’d want to experience. Playing for the team comes first. But in a perfect world, to get both would be awesome. To have a title for the rest of your life would be special, especially in a field as deep as this and being a senior.”

But Homa’s round could have been even better.

He was at 8-under after a birdie on the par-3, 220-yard 15th hole.

But he followed that up with a bogey on the par-4 No. 16, a par on the par-4 No. 17 and a double bogey on the par-4, 468-yard No. 17.

Homa birdied on 16 on Tuesday and made par on 18.

He was at 5-under on the front nine Wednesday with four of his five birdies coming on par-4s.

“Trust me, I’m not worried about it at all. The last five holes were brutally tough,” Homa said. “If you told me at the beginning of the day that I’d be 5-under, I wouldn’t bat an eye. I’d take it.”

Homa’s round could have also been worse.

His group was warned twice for slow play, and Homa was nearly assessed a penalty stroke, but he was able to avoid that.

He started the day tied for 33rd place, but he got going quickly.

“He’s like all great players, once they get one or two (birdies) they want to get to three or four, then five or six, then seven or eight,” said Cal golf coach Steve Besimone. “Max certainly was looking at 59, 60 or 61. I can guarantee you that’s what he was thinking.”

Arizona State’s Jon Rahm came into the day with a five-stroke lead, but after shooting even-par, his lead has shrunk to one stroke.

Twenty-two players are within four strokes of Rahm.

 

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