Max Homa, Collin Morikawa get a lesson in how to close a Masters

Chip Towers, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Golf

AUGUSTA, Ga. – You have to go low on the back nine on Sunday to win the Masters. Neither Max Homa nor Collin Morikawa did, so they stood aside and watched Scottie Scheffler get fitted with another green jacket.

It wasn’t like two of the PGA Tour’s up-and-comers threw up on their shoes, though. They both played steady, respectable final rounds, mostly staying out of trouble and cashing in on opportunities where they presented themselves. But it became quickly evident when the turn was made at the top of the hill from 9 to 10 that Scheffler was playing a different game altogether. Once again, the two-time Masters champion made mincemeat of the closing nine at Augusta.

When it was over, Homa and Morikawa stood seven shots in arrears after shooting 2-over and 1-over, respectively, on the home-9. Scheffler’s score of 33 coming in left them well back.

“His commitment, his mind,” Homa said of Scheffler’s steely play when the outcome us in the balance. “He is pretty amazing at letting things roll off his back and stepping up to very difficult golf shots and treating them like his own. He’s obviously a tremendous talent, but I think that is his superpower.”

Scheffler’s rock-solid game took care of the contenders one at a time. Morikawa’s bid, for all practical purposes, ended on the ninth hole. After matching Scheffler’s birdie on the eighth, his drive on 9 ended up right of the fairway in the pine straw. His complicated approach ran into the front-left bunker. But he left his third shot in the sand bunker. And when Scheffler followed his 358-yard drive with an 89-yard approach that zipped back from beyond the pin to six inches, it represented a three-shot swing.

Two holes later, Morikawa also would card a double bogey at No. 11.


“I got greedy,” said Morikawa, who has won a British Open and a PGA Championship. “When you’re playing really good, you don’t get greedy. I got greedy on 9; I got greedy on 11. I wasn’t pressing, I just was trying to hit it a little bit too close, and greed can get the best of us. I’m going to take a lot from this week.”

As for the 33-year-old Homa, he hung tough for the longest time. Playing just ahead of Scheffler and Morikawa, he found himself in a four-way tie for the lead at 6-under after Scheffler showed a little humanity and bogeyed No. 7. Morikawa and Ludvig Aberg were all minus-6 at the time, too.

Homa’s birdie at No. 8 preceded Scheffler. He birdied 10 as well, hitting a 324-yard drive and putting his 160-yard approach 4-feet above, where he jarred it.

But Homa’s flickering hopes were extinguished where many before have been gone out. He hit his tee shot to No. 12 just like everyone instructs players to on Sunday, right over the middle bunker. But his ball took a big hop and landed in the azaleas and other flora decorated the back side of that picturesque green. Homa had to take an unplayable lie, then committed the sin of leaving his chip shot short. Two shots later, the double-bogey 5 all but assured Homa wouldn’t be realizing any dreams this Sunday.


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