Course-record 62 in second round at Olympia Fields, projected at No. 1 in FedExCup standings
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Five years ago this week, Max Homa made four consecutive birdies in the second round of the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season finale to make the cut and keep his job. Homa is often asked about the importance of this streak in his career, which has snowballed to six TOUR wins and worldwide stardom.
The significance of “the streak” is an often-used narrative around these parts, but it’s a true one. Homa keeps building and building, the latest evidence a second-round, 8-under 62 at the BMW Championship, a course record at Olympia Fields Country Club (North Course), a historic Chicagoland venue that has hosted four major championships.
Homa leads by two strokes into the weekend at 10-under total. A win this week would move him atop the FedExCup standings heading into the TOUR Championship.
There’s plenty motivating Homa this week: he wants to automatically qualify for his first U.S. Ryder Cup Team (the six automatic qualifiers are finalized after the BMW Championship), and a top-two finish at Olympia Fields would do the trick. There’s also the matter of the FedExCup; the leader after the BMW Championship will begin their week at 10-under par at East Lake, under the Starting Strokes format.
“I told (Captain) Zach (Johnson) last year I was kissing up to him, but then he also said, ‘Well, I’d like to not have to pick you,’ and I said all right, there’s my promise, I’ll try to get an automatic,” Homa said Friday. “That would be really cool. That’s been kind of my goal since these Playoffs started, to get into that top six.
“All that obviously takes some great golf. You’re playing against a lot of great players. It has been fun keeping that goal in mind because you’re competing against the best Americans, which is a tall task.”
The world is Homa’s oyster. Happy wife, happy life, as they say; his wife Lacey playfully joked that he needed to keep his media obligations to 15 minutes. The Homas were in no hurry to depart the property, though, interacting with friends and fans between interviews outside the stately Olympia Fields clubhouse. Homa has previously won in Chicago (the Korn Ferry Tour’s 2016 Rust-Oleum Championship), and he’s in midway pole position to procure more hardware in the Windy City.
Homa spent ample time on the practice green Thursday night, leading to a hot putter Friday; he made six birdies on the back nine, 10 overall. He leads the field in Strokes Gained: Putting and ranks No. 11 in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
Last month, Homa broke a personal barrier with his first top-10 finish at a major, a T10 at The Open Championship. He has bigger dreams in golf’s four most prestigious events, of course, but he made sure to recognize the moment, tweeting “first top ten in a major (finally)” after signing his card that afternoon. He finished T6 at the FedEx St. Jude Championship in his next start, entering this week at No. 6 on the FedExCup, very much a leading contender for the season-long title. His play so far this week has done nothing to suggest otherwise.
Homa has ascended into the top 10 in the world, and he might lead the FedExCup after this week. But whatever he does in this game (and it might be great things), he’ll be forever grounded in the knowledge that he has fought back to the game’s upper echelon after losing his card and returning to the Korn Ferry Tour, not once but twice.
It’s a part of his story, a part he doesn’t shy away from rehashing. He knows it can inspire others and provide appreciation for what he has done.
“Feels like forever ago, but I think about it all the time,” Homa said Friday of those four straight closing birdies. “It’s just crazy sometimes walking up the 18th hole here today and just thinking about – I don’t know if that would have happened had it not been for those four holes in a row, so it was pretty cool to look back on it and reflect on it, and it gives me a lot of appreciation for what I’m doing.”
Some get their 15 minutes of fame; some get a lifetime of it. Whatever it is for Homa, he’ll relish the journey and see what it brings. Maybe it will bring a FedExCup title.
Source : PGA Tour