Kapalua, Hawaii – I was out hiking Friday afternoon at the Tournament of Champions when I came upon a strange sight.
I was hebbing and puffing my way up the 18th Kapalua ski slope (one of all those 400 yard drives cruising) and then still back on the 17th green when I heard Something, although I wasn’t sure what was going on. By the time I got to the green there were several volunteers looking in the short bush and left of the green while back in the fairway I could see Max Homma’s character lining up an approach shot.
Homa was playing alone. His playing partner Xander Schavelli had retired on the turn back injury. The only possible conclusion was that Huma’s first ball fell into the bushes and he was now playing a provisional approach.
But I didn’t realize how bizarre the incident actually was until another volunteer explained with morbid glee that a Homa ball had ricocheted off a machine gun and exploded. backwards In the box below the green. Sprinkler heads are golf tournament mayhem and have wreaked havoc in so many ways. But backwards? I’ve never seen that before.
Failed Search, Rules Official, Drop and Up and Down Nifty Later, Homa walked in from behind the green, shaking his head.
“See that?” he asked, just hoping someone had witnessed it.
“As if golf wasn’t hard enough,” added Joe Griner, shaking his head. “Best ghost ever.”
Homa finished his T27 day, so he didn’t address the media after his tour. But a day later, after he finished a flashy 10-under third round 63, he delivered memories that are even more profound.
“I was playing on my own and the ball wasn’t really going into the hole but I was just hanging there,” Homma said. “I was three years old [for the round] And I think it’s okay, if you get four under 18s, you’re fine. “
Homma had a hole in his hand for the fateful shot and was trying to land it one step onto the green; After the pit spot, things run wild. His shot started directly at the flag before the ball began to drift slightly to the left. That meant he’d miss his target, but not by much — Griner estimated he’d have been left with a 10-15-foot flying putter, while Homa settled for 22.
Then the splash and ball head crash came abruptly backwards, arching into the bushes. There was no chance of recovery.
“Maybe someone in a thousand years will find a Titleist with a black mark on it, and hopefully send him to the Bad Break Hall of Fame,” Humma concluded.
To Homa’s credit, everything that happened after the bad rebound was impressive. He kept it up and down for the bogey at number two under the round, and two good swings at No. 18 set up a two-hit birdie for a three-under finish of 70. Saturday he was out early and he could have done it. no mistake; He birdied 2, 5, 6 and 8 and then really started to climb the back nine, bunting five consecutive birdies from the 12th to the 16th before returning to the 17th, hitting the middle of the green and claiming to put up a two-out. They care about equality. Two more good swings at the 18th put an eagle inside 15 feet; He settled on Birdie and a round of 10-under.
“The ball went into the hole today,” Homa said. “I didn’t make anything until maybe the ninth came up yesterday. I don’t really know how to explain it. I didn’t feel like I played four better shots than the last two days I combined, but I did.”
The 10-birded feast shot Homa from T27 to the edge of contention; His three innings total of 16-under-par had him T7 at the end of the day.
“When the wind is like that and the greens are soft, you can make your way to a lot of birdies,” he explained. “I felt like I didn’t give up on my way out of them today. So that was nice.”
Huma also credited his good run with a comfortable pairing with Justin Thomas and caddy Jim “Bones” Mackay.
“Two are my favorite people in golf, so it’s great to be around them,” he said. “I think JT is my favorite person to watch golf play, which is probably true of a lot of fans of the game. So it’s fun to be around him and watch him play and watch him work.
Then I added Bones, and he’s more serious and quieter when he’s working than we were at home. Because at home he’s talkative, he’s got the best stories in the world and he’s seen literally everything. I think he has a story about Old Tom Morris, he was in his group once. But it’s just the best. “.
He’ll need another low on Sunday to have any chance of catching up with Colin Morikawa, who built a five-shot lead with two holes to play his third round. It is progress that may prove insurmountable.
As long as it doesn’t hit any sprinkler heads.