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It wasn’t a bad week, all things considered, for Max Homa at the BMW Championship.
The American fan favourite did not manage to press home his two-shot advantage and win the penultimate PGA Tour event at Olympia Fields in Chicago after his eight-under 62 on Friday.
Homa’s 71-68 finish over the weekend ultimately saw him finish six shots behind the champion Viktor Hovland, who put together a scarcely believable back-nine score of 28 to overcome Scottie Scheffler and Matt Fitzpatrick in epic fashion on Sunday.
But there were plenty of positives to take for Homa, with his 11-under total good enough for T5 and a cheque of $790,000.
He has breezed through to next week’s Tour Championship at East Lake, where he will bid to chase down FedEx Cup leader Scottie Scheffler with a six-shot deficit in the PGA Tour’s post-season finale.
And, perhaps most importantly, he secured his place as a lock in the US Ryder Cup team, taking the fifth automatic qualifying berth to confirm his debut in the biennial showdown.
There was one very understandable annoyance in Saturday’s third round, however, when Homa was subject to heckles from a fan who was seemingly trying to disrupt the tournament – all for a $3 bet.
The incident came on the par-4 17th when Homa and his playing partner Chris Kirk were putting out on the greens.
Kirk was first shouted at for missing his birdie putt, then the same fan shouted “pull it” as Homa struck his putt from five feet.
The fan in question appeared to have wagered $3 on Homa to miss, but the 32-year-old’s effort found the centre of the cup and he was soon given a piece of the player’s mind.
“There was a probably drunk, I hope for his case, or else he’s just the biggest loser there is,” Homa said.
“But he was cheering and yelling at Chris for missing his putt short, and he kept yelling that he had … one of them had $3 for me to make mine, and I got to the back of my backstroke, and he yelled, ‘pull it’ pretty loud, and I made it right in the middle.
“And then I just started yelling at him, and then Joe [Greiner, Homa’s caddie] yelled at him.”
While this interruption was unique for Homa, the affable Californian has concerns about the impact this kind of unruly behaviour can have during tournaments.
“I love that people can gamble on golf, but that is the one thing I’m worried about,” he said. He didn’t care that … I don’t know what he had to lose. He got kicked out probably.
“It’s just always something that’s on your mind. It’s on us to stay focused or whatever, but it’s just annoying when it happens. It just feels … it’s like the one thing we have in this game, fans are so great about being quiet when we play. I think they are awesome.
“When anybody ever talks, it’s so unintentional. They don’t know we’re hitting. It just sucks when it’s incredibly intentional, and his friend specifically said it was for $3, so that was … not that the money matters, but that’s a frustrating number.”
Homa added: “It was nice to make it right in the middle and hopefully he had to pay his buddy that $3 immediately on the way out of the property.”
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