10 Notes to Know: February 22, 2021

February 22, 2021
Justin Ray
  1. After a stunning recovery on the first playoff hole, Max Homa made par on the second hole of sudden-death to beat Tony Finau in a playoff to take the Genesis Invitational. Homa played the last 26 holes bogey-free, including the playoff. He’s just the third PGA Tour winner at Riviera in the last 30 years to not make a bogey in the final round, joining Steve Elkington at the 1995 PGA Championship and Bubba Watson at this tournament in 2014.
  1. It was nearly a heart-breaking defeat for Homa – needing birdie on the last hole of regulation to win, he hit the closest approach of any player on that hole in the final round (3 feet, 4 inches). Max missed the birdie try, however, thus necessitating the playoff. Before that putt, Homa had gone 55-for-56 on putts inside 5 feet for the week. Across the entire field, 97.2% of putts inside 5 feet were made at the 18th for the tournament.
  1. Tony Finau fired a 64 in the final round to force the extra holes – he had the low score of the day and the most birdies of any player in the field on Sunday. But ultimately, it was another week of coming up just short of the winner’s circle. Finau has now made 127 official PGA Tour starts since his only victory, the 2016 Puerto Rico Open. During that stretch, he has 8 runner-up finishes and more than $19 million in official earnings.
  1. Homa is the 43rd different player to win multiple times on the PGA Tour since Finau’s win in Puerto Rico. 116 different players have reached the winners circle, while two players have more than 10 wins: Dustin Johnson (15) and Justin Thomas (12). Finau now has a staggering 37 top-ten finishes on the PGA Tour since that win, fourth-most of any player in that span. The only 3 players with more than him – Thomas, Johnson and Jon Rahm – have combined to win 29 times in that stretch.
  1. Finau’s 37 top-ten finishes are more than twice as many as any other player without a victory since 2017 on the PGA Tour. Tied for second most are 3 players – Byeong Hun An, Kevin Streelman and Tommy Fleetwood with 16 apiece.
  1. Dustin Johnson struggled in the final round, making 5 bogeys on his way to carding 72. It was the first time Johnson has shot over par in the final round of any tournament around the world in 371 days – his previous final round worse than par came at this same event in 2020. After leading the field in strokes gained tee-to-green through 3 rounds, Johnson ranked 56th of 67 players in the statistic in the final round.
  1. It was nearly a breakout week for Sam Burns, who held the outright lead after each of the first three rounds. He would wind up finishing alone in 3rd place – his best career PGA Tour finish – after shooting 74-69 on the weekend. Burns was seeking to become the first player to win wire-to-wire (no ties) in a PGA Tour event at Riviera since Hal Sutton at the 1983 PGA Championship. Burns (age 24 and change) also would have been the youngest winner of this event since Pat Fitzsimons in 1975.
  1. The 10th hole at Riviera Country Club, a short par 4, saw players take an aggressive approach all week long. More than 95% of the field went for the green off the tee, according to the PGA Tour’s measurement of that decision. That percentage was the highest for any single week since the Tour started tracking it in 2003. Each of the last 6 years, that percentage has gone up – from 51% in 2015, to the lofty 95.4% this week.
  1. More evidence of how difficult it is to win in pro golf: Burns held a 2-stroke advantage going into the final round. Since the beginning of last season, players who hold either a 1 or 2 shot lead through 54 holes have won just 4 times in 24 opportunities – or 16.7%.
  1. The PGA Tour shifts to Florida next for the WGC-Workday Championship at The Concession. The LPGA will also be in action in the Sunshine State, at the Gainbridge LPGA will take place in Orlando. Annika Sorenstam will make her return to LPGA competition – her first official event since 2008. In a stretch from 2001 through 2005, Sorenstam won 43 times in 104 starts on the tour, a clip of more than 41%.