Max Homa and Danny Willett came into the final round of the Fortinet Championship in very different places in their respective careers. Homa trying to further establish himself as one of the best players in the game, while Willett was attempting to win on the PGA Tour for the first time since his 2016 Masters title. In the end it was the former that took home the title in Napa, Calif., in shocking fashion.
Despite the seemingly wide chasm in summary, Homa and Willett went head-to-head for most of the day at Silverado Resort & Spa’s North Course before Willett broke the deadlock with a 16-foot birdie putt on the par-4 14th hole to take a one-shot lead. After maintaining that lead through the 17th, things took a sudden turn at the par-5 finishing hole. After Willett knocked a lob wedge to three feet, seven inches to seemingly lock things up, Homa came up short on his shot from the sand only to bang the ensuing chip off the pin and into the cup. Still, Willett only needed to make the shortie, but gunned it five feet past and missed the comebacker, handing Homa the title, his second consecutive Fortinet victory.
“It was a wild finish,” Homa said afterward.
The start was pretty eventful, too, as Homa dug a hole early. Willett came out with a 43-foot birdie at the first and Homa made bogey at the second. From there, however, Homa kept a clean card, with a birdie on No. 4 and three in a row on Nos. 9, 10 and 11—the last a 30-footer on the par 3. But none compared to the pitch in from 32 feet at the last.
As he did in winning the Fortinet a year ago, Homa led the field in strokes gained/tee-to-green, picking up 9.803 strokes on the field. Homa’s driver is Titleist’s new TSR3 model with Fujikura’s Ventus Black 6X shaft and his irons are a split set of Titleist irons that includes four different models.
When Homa missed greens his touch around them was deft. Using a trio of Titleist SM9 wedges with KBS Hi Rev 2.0 125S shafts and Golf Pride Tour Velvet grips, Homa saved by 18 of the 21 times he missed the green, ranking third in the field.
As for Homa’s solid work on the greens (he ranked 15th in strokes gained/putting), he used a Scotty Cameron by Titleist X5.5 tour prototype to pick up four shots on the field.
Of course, Homa didn’t need a putter on the final hole. As he said, wild.
Driver: Titleist TSR3 (Fujikura Ventus Black 6X), 10 degrees
3-wood: Titleist TSR3, 16.5 degrees
7-wood: Titleist TSR2, 21 degrees
Irons (4): Titleist T100•S; (5): Titleist T100; (6-9): Titleist 620MB; (PW): Titleist Vokey SM9
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50, 56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist X5.5 Tour Prototype