FAR HILLS, N.J. – Max Homa concluded his remarkable 2013 golf season on Tuesday by tying for sixth at the Web.com Final Qualifying Tournament at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif.
Homa, 23 and a member of the victorious USA 2013 Walker Cup Team, carded a final-round, 6-under-par 66 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course for a six-round total of 23-under-par 409. The Valencia, Calif., resident and University of California-Berkeley graduate joined one USGA champion and three other USA Walker Cup alums, including 2013 teammate Justin Thomas, as exempt 2014 Web.com Tour members.
“It feels great,” Homa told the The Signal newspaper of Santa Clarita, Calif. “You kind of reflect back on when college season ended and just the anxiety of what you are going to do when you turn pro.
Since turning pro, Homa, 23, tied for ninth at the PGA Tour’s Frys.com Open at CordeValle in San Martin, Calif., and posted a T-30 effort the following week at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.
Homa is expected to make his 2014 debut in the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego on a sponsor’s exemption, Jan. 23-26. The Web.com Tour season begins Feb. 6-9 at the Panama Claro Championship in Panama City, Panama.
Spots two through 10 (and ties) are fully exempt through the third money-list reshuffle of the Web.com Tour season (after the 12th event). Those finishing 11th through 45th (and ties) are fully exempt through the second reshuffle, which occurs after the eighth event.
The remaining players receive conditional cards and will be slotted into tournaments – where spots are available – based on their finish at the Q-School finals.
Thomas, a Goshen, Ky., native and former University of Alabama All-American, followed up disappointing third-round 78 on the Stadium Course with rounds of 69-66 on Sunday and Monday, respectively, and then added a 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course on Tuesday to finish tied for 32nd at 14-under 418.
Colt Knost, the 2007 U.S. Amateur and U.S. Amateur Public Links champion and member of the victorious 2007 USA Walker Cup Team, also rallied on Tuesday with a 5-under 67 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course to finish T-38 at 13-under 419.
Matt Hendrix and Blayne Barber, members of the 2003 and 2011 USA Walker Cup Teams, respectively, tied for 22nd at 16-under 416. Barber made headlines last year during Q-School when he disqualified himself for a Rules infraction when he removed a leaf prior to playing a bunker shot.
Five USGA champions and two Walker Cup alums earned conditional status, including amateur Michael Kim, a 2013 Walker Cup teammate of Homa and Thomas. Kim, a junior at the University of California-Berkeley, announced on Dec. 20 he is turning professional, foregoing his final 1½ years of college eligibility.
A couple of other notables also finished inside the top 45. Sam Saunders, the grandson of three-time USGA champion Arnold Palmer, and Canadian Nick Taylor, the low amateur at the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course, each finished tied for 11th. And Sebastian Vazquez, of Mexico, the low individual at the 2012 World Amateur Team Championship in Turkey, tied for 26th at 15-under 417.
Steven Fox, the 2012 U.S. Amateur champion, struggled after opening with a 3-under 69 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Fox tied for 88th at 5-under 427.
T.J. Vogel, the 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion, and 2009 USA Walker Cup member Adam Mitchell, tied for 73rd at 8-under 424.
Jason Allred, the 1997 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, finished tied for 95th at 4-under 428, while a pair of U.S. Amateur Public Links champions, Kevin Johnson (1987) and Clay Ogden (2005), finished tied for 126th (3-over 435)and 129th (436), respectively.
Zack Fischer, who survived an epic 12-hole playoff in a U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Dallas in June, was the tournament medalist at 31-under 401, earning the native Texan full-exempt status for the 2014 season.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer with the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.