It's a massive victory for a player who missed 15 of 17 cuts just two years ago on Tour.
Coming into this week, Max Homa's PGA Tour career had been anything but fruitful. The 28-year-old Californian had exactly three top-10 finishes in 68 starts compared with 43 missed cuts. In 2016-2017, the last time he had full status before making a return this year, he missed the weekend 15 of 17 times and made just $18,808.
He never lost faith, constantly promising—perhaps convincing—himself that a turnaround was right around the corner. That turnaround was completed on Sunday at Quail Hollow, where he fired a four-under 67 to win the Wells Fargo Championship by three over Joel Dahmen. He let out a primeval scream after sinking a nine-foot par putt on the 72nd hole.
"Over the moon, man," Homa told CBS' Peter Kostis on the 18th green. "It's hard coming off that Web category. I have some serious scar tissue from out here. It means a lot to me to do this under pressure. Job security is nice—haven't had that before."
The $1.4 million winner's check more than doubles the career Tour earnings for Homa, who won the 2013 NCAA individual championship while at Cal and also played the Walker Cup that year. His previous biggest payday came way back in 2015, when he won $163,600 for finishing T6 at the Sony Open.
Just last fall, he needed a back-nine 30 in the final Web.com Tour event to secure a place in the Web.com Tour finals. He played well enough in the four-event playoffs to ultimately secure his PGA Tour card for this season.
Homa began the day tied for the lead with Dahmen and parred his first four holes before birdies at 5 and 7 saw him take a lead he never relinquished. He added birdies on 10 and 11 to push his lead to four before rain caused the third weather delay of the week. When play resumed, he dropped a five-footer for par on 14 then birdied the par-5 15th to all but secure the victory.
Homa entered this week ranked No. 417 in the world. He and Adam Long, who was also ranked No. 417 when he won the Desert Classic, are the highest-ranked players to win on Tour this year. Homa will make his second major appearance (he missed the cut at the 2013 U.S. Open as an amateur) in two weeks as the PGA Championship.
Dahmen would get up-and-down from left of the water hazard near the 18th green to clinch solo second, equaling his best-ever finish on Tour. The finish also secures his spot in the PGA.
Rory McIlroy started the day just two back of the lead but made a few shocking mistakes: three-putting the par-5 7th from 20 feet to make par; three-putting on 9 to make bogey; duffing two chips en route to a double-bogey 7 on the gettable par-5 10th, killing his hopes of contention. He signed for a two-over 73 that saw him finish T8, his eighth top 10 in nine starts this year.
McIlroy played alongside Justin Rose, who turned in a solid three-under 68 to finish third.