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Max Homa, Cal upset in NCAA semifinals

Posted: June 1, 2013 4:56 p.m.
Updated: June 1, 2013 4:56 p.m.

University of California, Berkeley senior and Valencia graduate Max Homa reacts after his round on Saturday in Milton, Ga. Photo by Todd Drexler/SE Sports

The wave of emotion swung back the other direction this week for Valencia graduate Max Homa.

The University of California, Berkeley senior saw his season and his collegiate career come to an end on Saturday at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships at Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course in Milton, Ga.

This happened just two days after Homa won individual medalist honors at the event, becoming the first Cal golfer and first Santa Clarita Valley product to do so.

But on the second day of team match play on Saturday, the No. 1-seed Golden Bears were upset 3-2 by fifth-seeded Illinois in the semifinal round.

The teams were tied at 2-2 with only Homa’s match against Illinois’ Thomas Pieters to be decided. Pieters won on the second playoff hole, which was also the 20th hole the two golfers played on the day.

Homa had an 8-foot putt for par to tie the hole and extend the match, but the ball rolled just past the hole to end it.

It’s the second straight year Cal has gone down in the semifinal round after it lost to Alabama last season.

“This format is just so tough,” Homa said in his post-round interview. “You have to be on every day. From top to bottom, you have to have everybody on in the match play. We won the stroke play by six over 29 of the best teams in the country. It’s just hard to get the win.”

Alabama again advanced to the NCAA final by defeating Georgia Tech on Saturday. That puts Illinois against Alabama for the championship today.

“I let my whole family down. Those guys put so much into this year,” Homa said. “It really sucks not being the one that moves on to tomorrow.”

This appeared to be shaping up as a storybook week for Homa, who finished as the overall champion after posting 9-under through three rounds of stroke play that concluded Thursday. His mark was three strokes clear of second place.

Homa was also this year’s individual Pac-12 champion, which he won on May 1.

He’ll conclude his Cal career as one of the school’s top all-time golfers after being named a third-team All-American last year in addition to winning first-team All-Pac-12 honors.

He competed in the NCAA Championship each of his four years at Cal, which broke a modern-era NCAA record by winning 11 team tournaments this season in 14 tries.

“Hard to believe it’s over. To have a season like this, I just don’t know the next time there will be a season like this is going to happen. Maybe it will happen next year, maybe it won’t happen again for the next 50 years.”

On Monday, he’ll head to Newport Beach to participate in a U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying tournament, which is a 36-hole event that will take place at both Big Canyon Country Club and Newport Beach Country Club.

The top finishers in the event will move on to play one of golf’s major championships from June 13-16 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.


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