Sports

Homa stable in Sunday duel, gets 4th circuit win at Wells Fargo

POTOMAC, Md. (AP) — Max Homa played solid, consistent golf through a week of cold, wet conditions and a Sunday home-and-away duel with Keegan Bradley, closing with a 2-under 68 for a two-stroke victory in the Wells Fargo Championship.

An emerging PGA Tour star whose only missing achievement is competing in a major tournament, Homa, 31, finished 8-under 272 at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. He won for the fourth time overall, third in 15 months and second since quitting his popular podcast.

“I just feel like I’m blossoming. I’m starting to believe in myself a lot and that’s all I can ask for,” said Homa, whose next departure will be in two weeks. at the PGA Championship.

With his victory last September in Napa, Calif., Homa joins Scottie Scheffler (four), Hideki Matsuyama (two), Sam Burns (two) and Cameron Smith (two) as multiple winners on tour this season. He also moves up to sixth in the Presidents Cup standings, meaning he is in a position to earn a September return visit to Wells Fargo’s usual home, Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Homa picked up his first career victory of 2019 at Quail Hollow, which took a year off as host of Wells Fargo as it prepares for the USA vs. International tag team competition. The TPC Potomac, which last hosted the tour in 2018, sold out despite torrential rains Friday and Saturday and abnormally cold temperatures for most of the week.

Bradley started the day with a two-shot lead, gave it away on the par-5 second hole and took it back on the par-4 eighth hole before Homa finally took command for good on the back nine. A bogey on the last hole gave Bradley a 2 of 72 and a tie for second place with Cameron Young and Matt Fitzpatrick.

Homa played tight on Saturday, the toughest day to score of the week, but was aggressive right away on Sunday while keeping his umbrella stowed in his golf bag for the first time since the opening round.

He twirled his 7-iron as he watched his approach on the par-4 first hole settle 8 feet from the hole. An 8-foot lob wedge on the par-4 fifth was good for another birdie, and a 7-iron inside 10 feet on the par-3 ninth got him to 34.2 under for the day and tied with Bradley, who leveled off after a nervous start.

Seeking to climb high enough in the world rankings to secure a spot at the US Open at the Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, the 35-year-old New England native has had a bad shot since a bunker on the green side of the par-5 second hole, resulting in a double bogey. Afterwards, caddy Scott Vail asked the police to eject some rowdy fans.

Bradley rallied with a 21-foot birdie and a firm fist pump on the par-4 fifth, a save by a tough lie on the sixth, a 14-footer in which he walked for a birdie on the seventh and a iron 8 for 4 feet on the No. 8 for another birdie.

The next two of five two-hit swings between the final pairing belonged to Homa. Bradley found a penalty area to the right of the green on the 11th hole, the toughest on the course this week, and double-bogeyed while Homa saved par. When Homa converted another birdie on the par-4 15th, he had a three-shot lead with three to play.

Homa had to make a 5-foot bogey on the par-4 16th as Bradley birdied to move into one. The pair traded pars on the 17th and when Homa delayed his birdie putt to hit the range on the 18th, it was finally over.

Young had six birdies ranging in length from 8 feet to 6 inches in his last 66 for his third-place finish on the 24-year-old rookie season on tour. Fitzpatrick birdied the 18 to complete a bogey-free 67.

The biggest galleries of the day belonged to Rory McIlroy, who started the day with six headshots and was 3 under on 10 holes. But he stalled from there and closed with a bogey for a 68 to finish alone in fifth, four strokes back.

NOTES: Jason Day, the first and second round leader, closed with a 70 to finish 1 under. … Stewart Cink had the low round on Sunday, a 65 that propelled him into a share of ninth place at 2 under

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Follow Ben Nuckols at https://twitter.com/APBenNuckols

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More AP Golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports




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