Danny Willett had 3 feet, 7 inches for birdie to win the Fortinet Championship.
He ended up losing it outright.
In a crazy two-shot swing on the final green Sunday at Silverado Resort, Willett three-putted for bogey from inside 4 feet after playing competitor Max Homa chipped in for birdie moments earlier. And instead of Willett winning on the PGA Tour for the first time since the 2016 Masters, it was Homa successfully defending his title at the PGA Tour’s season opener in Napa, California.
“Just a shame how I finished, but that's golf, we're going to do it again another day,” Willett said. “Yeah, a bit disappointing finish to the round, but you're trying to hole it. Hit it a little bit too firm.”
Willett began the final round tied with Homa and a shot behind 54-hole leader Justin Lower, who like Willett had been given a second chance at retaining PGA Tour membership following the most recent LIV Golf suspensions. The Englishman carded five birdies on the day as he took a one-shot edge over Homa into the par-5 finishing hole.
After a poor drive found the right rough, Willett laid up to 64 yards before hitting what seemed like a birdie-clinching pitch. But after Homa’s heroics from 32 feet short of the green, Willett needed one putt to win and two to at least get into a playoff.
Neither happened, as Willett’s first putt caught the left lip and his comebacker, from just inside 5 feet, caught the opposite side of the cup.
“Justin's [putt] obviously stayed right on the first one, which was a bit strange with how I was seeing mine because I saw mine pretty nicely left to right,” Willett explained. “I hit it obviously far too hard. And on the way back from where he was coming from, I thought it was straighter. Again, yeah, just ended up tailing off and missing left. Yeah, disappointing way to finish, but you know, first out of the season, like I said, to be in contention, things are in a good place.
“Yeah, we'll live to fight another day.”
Homa, meanwhile, couldn't believe it.
"Yeah, that was crazy," Homa said during his winner's press conference. "I still don't really know what happened."