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AP photo by Eric Risberg / Max Homa acknowledges the crowd on the 18th green of the Silverado Resort North Course after shooting a 65 in the final round of the Fortinet Championship on Sunday in Napa, Calif. Homa won the tournament, the first of the PGA Tour's 2021-22 schedule.

NAPA, Calif. — Max Homa's decision to give up his popular and often comical golf podcast to concentrate on his game is already paying off.

Homa holed out from the rough from 95 yards for an eagle on the par-4 12th hole to start a back-nine comeback, then added three birdies for a 7-under-par 65 and a one-stroke victory Sunday in the Fortinet Championship, the season opener for the 2021-22 PGA Tour.

"I had full control today," said Homa, who saved par out of the sand three times. "I had a really good warmup, hit my wedges really well. The only bogey I made was going kind of right at it, so just felt like I had good control. It just feels really nice."

Three strokes behind Maverick McNealy with seven holes left, Homa followed the eagle with a birdie on the par-4 13th. The 30-year-old former University of California player tapped in for another birdie on the par-5 16th and ran in an 18-footer on the par-4 17th. He parred the par-5 18th to finish at 19-under 269 at Silverado Resort's North Course.

Homa won for the second time this year and the third time on the PGA Tour. Homa won the Wells Fargo Championship in May 2019 and the Genesis Invitational this past February.

His latest victory came a week after Homa ended the "Get A Grip" podcast he co-hosted for nearly two years.

"I love doing it ... but at some point it was not doing me any favors having to regurgitate all the bad things that happened. It wasn't healthy for me," Homa said. "My game's getting to the point where it could be really good."

McNealy shot a 68 to finish second. He birdied the 16th, then made a double bogey on 17 and an eagle on 18. The son of billionaire and former Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy, the 25-year-old player grew up in Palo Alto and starred at Stanford.

"I was pretty good in the morning but had a few short game mishaps late in the day," McNealy said. "If I hit that fairway on 17, I'm putting for birdie, it's a different story."

Mito Pereira (68) was third at 16 under. The former Korn Ferry Tour star was promoted after winning three times on the developmental circuit last season.

Marc Leishman (65) and Talor Gooch (68) shared fourth at 15 under.

Jim Knous (74) began the day tied for the lead with McNealy but could never find his rhythm and finished at 12 under. Knous, who has one more start on a medical exemption, landed his opening tee shot into a spectator's chair and had a triple bogey on No. 14.

Playing in the twosome just in front of McNealy, Homa birdied three of the last four holes on the front nine, then dropped a stroke on No. 10. He got back on track and turned his round around two holes later when his approach on 12 landed on the front of the green and rolled into the cup as Homa raised his finger in the air.

"You want to have a Tiger (Woods) moment," Homa said. "He's made it from everywhere to win. Sometimes when you put yourself in that state of mind, great things happen."

Baylor School graduate Luke List (71) tied for 51st at 4 under.

 

Clarke's third win of 2021

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Darren Clarke won the Sanford International for his third PGA Tour Champions victory of the season, beating K.J. Choi with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff.

Clarke, the 53-year-old from Northern Ireland who won the 2011 British Open for his lone major title, closed with a 5-under 65 at Minnehaha Country Club, making a birdie on the par-4 18th to match Choi and Steve Flesch at 12-under 198.

"It's nice to get back in the winner's circle again," Clarke said. "In the playoff you never know what's going to happen; anybody can make birdie ,and luckily it was my day today."

Clarke won the TimberTech Championship in November for his first title on the 50-and-older tour and took the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in January during his next start on the senior circuit.

"I've really enjoyed my time here in Sioux Falls," Clarke said. "The fans have been brilliant. I've had maybe a little beverage with one or two of them in the past, so it's been nice to have that atmosphere and that support. It's always wonderful."

Choi, the second-round leader, finished with a 69. The 51-year-old South Korean had only one birdie Sunday, on the par-4 13th.

"Playoff, in the second hole, hit the tree at the left," Choi said. "Is disappointing, but good finish. ... Everything is very great this week."

Flesch, eliminated with a bogey on the first extra trip down 18, also bogeyed the hole in regulation for a 66.

"I played well, I've been playing well," the 54-year-old American said. "I just wish I could have played that 72nd hole over. I picked an aggressive line and made kind of a tentative swing with the 3-wood and it got me. You know, that 18th hole, it's playing tough. Straight downwind, it's hard to get the ball on the right level."

Miguel Angel Jimenez, the tournament's 2020 winner, was two strokes back and shared fourth with Rod Pampling (69). Steve Stricker (67), who was sixth at nine under, will captain the United States against Europe in the Ryder Cup that starts Friday at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

 

Good run for LPGA star

WEST LINN, Ore. — Jin Young Ko won the rain-shortened Cambia Portland Classic for her second victory in her past three LPGA Tour starts.

Making her first start since the Tokyo Olympics this summer, the second-ranked South Korean player closed with a bogey-free 3-under 69 at Oregon Golf Club for a four-stroke victory over Jeongeun Lee and Su Oh. Ko finished at 11-under 205.

Play was washed out Saturday because of rain and the event was cut from 72 to 54 holes. Ko took the lead Friday with a 67.

"I really wanted to play yesterday, but we couldn't play," Ko said. "I tried to make a bogey-free round today, but I made it. I had a lot of missed shots and I had a lot of missed chipping or something, so I had to make great par saves, but I made it.

She took a break after the Olympics, skipping the Women's British Open.

"I spent a great time in Korea after the Olympics, maybe over six or seven weeks," the 26-year-old said. "I had a lot of practice with my same coach and I had a lot of workouts, three times or four times each week."

Ko also won the Volunteers of America Classic in Texas in early July. The two-time major champion has nine LPGA Tour victories.

Lee and Oh each shot a 69. Perrine Delacour was fourth at 5 under after a 69. Patty Tavatanakit (69) was 4 under to share fifth with Esther Henseleit (70) and Carlota Ciganda (73).

Gemma Dryburgh, a stroke behind Ko entering the round, had a 76 to drop into a tie for eighth at 3 under.

The tournament was shifted from Edgewater Country Club to Oregon Golf Club in June because of safety concerns about a homeless encampment bordering Edgewater.

"This course was really amazing — fairways and greens are really perfect," Ko said.

 

First win in six years

CROMVOIRT, Netherlands — Sweden's Kristoffer Broberg shot a tense par round of 72 to finish at 23-under 265 and win the Dutch Open by three strokes for his second European Tour victory and first since beating Patrick Reed in a playoff to win the 2015 BMW Masters.

The 35-year-old set course records at the Bernardus Cub in Cromvoirt in the second and third rounds, shooting a 64 on Friday and a 61 on Saturday.

But Broberg, No. 772 in the Official World Golf Ranking, struggled Sunday despite starting the day with an eight-shot lead as Alejandro Canizares (68) and Marcus Schmid (66) both piled on the pressure by shooting 5 under on the front nine.

"The game wasn't there today. I was struggling all day," he said.

Schmid reduced the lead to just two shots on the par-5 12th, but it could have been worse for Broberg — he chipped in for a bogey while Schmid left an eagle putt just short of the cup.

Schmid then made a double-bogey five on the 13th to take the pressure off Broberg in a roller-coaster back nine for the leader. The German finished second at 20 under, two shots ahead of Canizares, who shot a double-bogey seven on the 18th.

Broberg rolled in a birdie putt on the 17th to give himself a three-shot cushion going to the 18th and held his nerve for a par on the final hole to close out the first European Tour victory by a Swede at the Dutch Open since Peter Hanson in 2012.

It was a return to form for a player whose competition schedule has been restricted in recent years by hip and knee injuries.

"Six years of hell," he said before choking up with emotion after his victory.

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