Cal Golf: Max Homa Falters on Sunday After Three Strong Rounds in La Quinta

One-time NCAA champion fell from a tie for the lead to a tie for 21st place
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Max Homa positioned himself to win his second-ever PGA tour title, but it all came apart on Sunday at The American Express tournament in La Quinta.

Homa, the 30-year-old Cal grad, was part of a three-way tie for the lead after shooting a 7-under 65 on Saturday.

His title chase ended quickly in the final round as he bogeyed three holes on the opening nine and lost touch with the leaders. By the time it was over, Homa had a four-over 76 for the day, plummeting 20 spots into an 11-way tie for 21st place.

The final-round collapse was costly to Homa. First place earned $1.2 million. The 11 golfers who tied for 21st each took home a little more than $58,000.

Homa let fans know he isn't crushed by the results with this message on Twitter:

Max Homa tweet

Even at his best, Homa may not have been able to hold off Si Woo Kim or Patrick Cantlay.

Cantlay rose from 13th place to take the lead after a brilliant final-round 61 that included 11 birdies and no bogeys. The 28-year-old UCLA grad finished at minus-22 and sat in the clubhouse, hoping he’d won his won fourth tour title, his second this season, when Kim made his charge.

Tied for the lead with Homa and Tony Finau when the day began, Kim shot an 8-under 64 — eight birdies without a bogey — to win. The 25-year-old South Korean's birdies on 16 and 17 gave him the lead and he wound up with a 23-under-par score of 265.

Finau shot a 68 on Sunday and finished in fourth place at 19 under, one stroke behind Cameron Davis.

Max Homa studies a putt

Max Homa

Homa, who won the NCAA title at Cal in 2013, has had a sometimes-challenging professional career. In 2017 he missed the cut 15 times in 17 events and earned less than $20,000 for the year, leaving him off the tour in 2018.

He was back in 2019 and won for the first time at the Wells Fargo Championships in Charlotte, NC. That gave him a tour exemption through 2021-22.

Homa had four top-10 finishes in 2020 but in six starts in the 2021 season (which began with the U.S. Open in September), he had no top-10 finishes and missed the cut three times.

At La Quinta, Homa assembled rounds of 66-70-65-76 to finish at 277. Through three rounds, he had 24 birdies, four bogeys and two double-bogeys to sit at 15 under par. Then he carded five bogeys and just one birdie on Sunday, finishing at minus-11.

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Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo