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Valencia graduate Max Homa makes early exit at U.S. Open

Likely to miss cut, but enjoys experience

Posted: June 14, 2013 7:39 p.m.
Updated: June 14, 2013 7:39 p.m.

Valencia graduate Max Homa tees off on the eighth hole during the first round of the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club on Friday.

Valencia High graduate Max Homa was quick to understand his stay at the U.S. Open was short, however it was certainly sweet.

Homa, who earned a spot at the 113th playing of the event by advancing from a sectional qualifier, shot a 36-hole total of 11-over at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.

The cut was at 8-over on Friday.

“It would have been nice to bring something other than my ‘B’ game,” Homa said after his round was over. “It wasn’t a great week of golf. It was kind of frustrating. But you don’t get many opportunities to tee it up with all these guys, the Tigers of the world. Even with my poor golf game, I came close to making a cut, so that’s something to hang my hat on.”

Phil Mickelson and Billy Horschel were in the lead after two rounds at 1-under.

Homa got six holes in on Thursday before weather prevented him from finishing his round.

He came into Friday at 2-over and resumed his play on hole No. 7.

The 22-year-old bogeyed No. 9 and 11, but closed out with birdies on 12 and 17 and five pars.

Homa shot a 3-over 73 on the first 18, then got back on the course and started on 11 with a par.

He double-bogeyed 15, but two holes later chipped in for par in front of a crowd that he estimated was about 300.

The shot sent them into a frenzy.

“I would consider it the best moment of my life,” said the 2013 NCAA Division I individual national champion and Pac-12 individual champion.

Homa, though, struggled on his next three holes going bogey, double bogey, double bogey.

He also bogeyed No. 8 before closing out his stay in the U.S. Open with birdie, par, par.

“I think it was just the U.S. Open you’re a little tighter,” said the 19th-ranked amateur in the world. “Things don’t go your way. Mentally I was still there, but my game didn’t show up. Playing all that golf eventually there was a cooling off.”

Homa won the Pac-12 and NCAA championships in May, qualified for the U.S. Open and played in the event this month.

And he finally got a chance to meet his hero Tiger Woods when the two were on the driving range at Merion.

It was just 20 seconds of talk.

“It was worth it,” Homa said.

His four-year career at Cal is over and at this point he’s hoping for sponsor exemptions to tournaments and will try and qualify for the PGA Tour.

Homa will next play in the Northeast Amateur Invitational Golf Tournament on June 19-22 at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rhode Island.


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