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Valencia grad Max Homa wins National Title

Homa finished at 9-under to win NCAA Division I golf championship

Posted: May 30, 2013 4:38 p.m.
Updated: May 30, 2013 4:38 p.m.

Valencia graduate Max Homa is the NCAA Division I Men's Golf National Champion.

 

 

Valencia High graduate and University of California golfer Max Homa was leading midway through the final round of stroke play on Thursday at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship at the Capital City Club Crabapple Course in Milton, Ga.

At the time, he was focused on the moment, going shot to shot, not letting thoughts creep into his mind.

He remembered what a past teammate told him — let yourself dream a little, but then bring yourself back to reality.

The senior never relinquished that lead and is now the first Cal golfer and first Santa Clarita Valley golfer to win the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf National Championship.

“I’m still dreaming right now,” Homa said shortly after winning.

Homa, who won the Pac-12 individual championship on May 1 with a 9-under, 72-hole score at the North Course of Los Angeles Country Club, won the national title with a 9-under, 54-hole score.

On Thursday, it was also announced that the All-Pac-12 first-teamer was also selected as an All-American.

On top of all that, the 2009 Valencia grad could win a second national championship as the Cal golf team finished match play in first place out of 30 teams.

The Golden Bears have advanced to the match-play portion of the event, and with the No. 1 seed, they face eighth-seeded Arizona State today.

“One of my best friends called me and she asked if I felt like I was on cloud nine, and I said, ‘No. I feel like I’m on cloud eight right now. I’ll be on cloud nine if we get this win.’ Obviously it feels good to win this, but I will not be happy if we don’t win this as a team. We’re a family, and I want my family to succeed. It would make everything so much better and so much more right if we did it.”

The team national championship will be determined on Sunday.

Yet Homa acknowledged just how special this victory was.

He shot an even-par 70 on Tuesday’s first round and was tied for 33rd.

He made his charge Wednesday with a 5-under that included a double-bogey on 18 and a bogey on 16. At the end of the day, he was tied for fourth, two strokes in back of the lead.

On Thursday, he was at 3-under for the round and 8-under overall after five holes.

But his 40-foot putt on No. 8 was crucial, he said.

Homa said just after No. 7 he glanced at the leaderboard accidentally while he was reading his putt and saw himself in the lead.

His drive on the eighth tee from 461 yards out hit a tree and landed in rocky terrain. He then hooked the next shot onto the fairway and wedged his way onto the green. He putted from 40 feet out, and four feet from the cup he knew he made par.

“The way my mind’s been lately, I just knew one shot at a time. You never know when you can pull something off when you think positive,” Homa said. “It settled me down and let me really know I could do it.”

He played steady golf from there with nine pars and a birdie on his final 10 holes.

Arizona State’s Jon Rahm came into the day with a one-stroke lead at 7-under, but didn’t do enough out on the course and came into the clubhouse at 6-under overall.

Homa was neck and neck with Cal teammate Brandon Hagy for most of the day, but a double-bogey on No. 15 and a bogey on 17 dropped Hagy to 5-under.

Homa came into the clubhouse with the lead, but for the second day in a row had to discuss a possible slow-play violation with rules officials.

He again avoided a penalty.

It was a waiting game, though, as Florida State’s Daniel Berger was at 6-under with four holes to golf.

“I walked off and thought I won and my mom said, ‘There’s a kid still out there,’” Homa said. “I told myself, ‘You couldn’t have done anything else. Just be patient. ... It felt like the longest 45 minutes, hour of my life.”

Berger went birdie, par, par, bogey on the last four holes to finish in a second-place tie with five others at 6-under.

Homa is in elite company, joining the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus and Ben Crenshaw who all won individual national titles.

Hart High graduate Jason Gore won a team national championship in 1997 with Pepperdine.

cosborne@signalscv.com

661-287-5529

 

 

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