Can Home Comforts Help Homa Follow Fitzpatrick And End Major Drought?

Hometown hero Max Homa holds the course record at LA Country Club and his inside knowledge could help him follow Matt Fitzpatrick's example

Max Homa speaks at the 2023 US Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Max Homa is hoping the home comforts of playing a local US Open, at the Los Angeles Country Club where he’s won before and holds the course record, can help him follow Matt Fitzpatrick’s example and win a maiden Major title.

Homa is not among the betting favourites for the US Open this week, but he certainly has a few factors in his favour in a similar way Fitzpatrick had last year when he won the title at a familiar venue.

The 32-year-old has six PGA Tour victories to his name, five of them in the last two years, so knows how to get the job done, but it’s never really happened for him in the Majors.

Homa’s Major record is poor to say the least. He’s made seven cuts from 15 appearances and finished inside the top 25 just once – a T13 finish at last year’s PGA Championship.

Playing a home game could be the answer to that though, as four of his six PGA Tour wins have come in California, including at this year’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego.

And Los Angeles Country club holds fond memories for Homa, as he won the 2013 Pac-12 Championship there when he shot a course-record 61.

Fitzpatrick won the US Amateur at Brookline, also in 2013, and of course won the US Open at the same track last year, so Homa will hope that lightning can strike twice as he prepares for a dream tournament.

“It's special,” said Homa. “I've just been thinking about how when you grow up and we all have that cliche joke, putt to win the US Open, putt to win the Masters, you don't picture the golf course except for if it's at Augusta.

“I've done it with Riviera, putt to win at the time LA Open or whatever, now the Genesis.

“To have a major in my hometown, 18-ish miles from where I grew up, I think that's a dream come true. It's already been fun with the fans out there.

“On a regular basis I get people yelling my college if they went there, but getting people yelling my high school is different, so that's been awesome.”

'Everything just clicked' - Homa on course record

Homa, who describes LACC as “awesome for a US Open” says “you're going to see a lot of silliness go on” with how tough the track can be – unlike when he shot his record 61 a decade ago.

“This is why golf is so bad,” he recalled of that round. “I remember not getting up-and-down from the front bunker on 6 for birdie, and I remember three-putting 8, so I could have shot 59, so that bothers me.

“We've all had those days in golf where as professionals just everything is clicking. It was just really cool that it happened during the Pac-12 championship on this golf course.

“It's nice when those things line up and when they really matter and not when I'm playing my friends who I'm giving six shots to at home and it doesn't really matter.”

Home will hope it all just clicks again this week to finally get him in the running for landing one of golf’s biggest prizes.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.