Golf: Willett gifts Max Homa win at Fortinet Championship
Danny Willett has spurned his opportunity to win the Fortinet Championship, gifting Max Homa his second successive win at the event.
Although Willett lifted the Masters in 2016, the Englishman has never prevailed in a regular tournament on the PGA Tour, but it appeared that Sunday would be the day in wet conditions in California.
Willett had played a solid final round with five birdies and just one bogey being posted in his first 16 holes, and a 10-foot par save at the penultimate hole ensured that he had the momentum heading down the 72nd hole.
Having set himself up for a birdie attempt to win from three feet seven inches, Willett knew that Homa had to hole a high-level chip shot off the green to remain in the tournament.
The defending champion pulled off the shot, the ball flying into the hole at pace, and it put Willett under pressure to hole his putt when he may have felt that his rival stood little chance of finding the cup from off the green.
Not only did the 34-year-old miss the target, he left himself almost five feet coming back, and there felt an inevitability about a second short putt being sent past the hole.
The failed attempt to force a playoff led to gasps from the crowd and a stunned reaction from Homa, who would have expected to be shaking hands with Willett even after his chip-in from 32 feet.
While Willett will move closer to returning to the world’s top 100, he now faces the challenge of trying to bounce back from one of the most disappointing moments in an up-and-down career.
Taylor Montgomery, playing in his first PGA Tour event since winning his Tour Card, finished in third position after a final-round 64.
Byeong Hun An and Justin Lower shared fourth spot, while Rickie Fowler was a notable name to earn a tie for sixth position.