Danny Willett suffers 'biggest choke ever' in 'horrible' golf drama
Danny Willett has left the golfing world in a state of shock after somehow squandering victory at the PGA Tour Fortinet Championship in Napa, California.
The Englishman handed victory to defending champion Max Homa on the final hole after inexplicably three-putting from little over one metre away from the hole.
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The tournament's defending champion Homa kept his slim chances of retaining the title alive when he superbly chipped in for birdie at the 18th.
Despite Homa's late heroics, Willett still had a golden opportunity to win if he sank his four-foot putt at the last - with even a two-putt good enough to force a playoff.
After seeing his first putt catch the lip and roll away from the hole, Willett did almost exactly the same thing before tapping in at the third time of asking.
It was a cruel finish for Willett, who is still looking for his first US PGA Tour title since his incredible 2016 Masters win.
The Englishman showed his class with a congratulatory message for Homa afterwards.
However, the golf world was left in disbelief over the shocking finish that some fans have described as the 'biggest choke ever'.
Willett had to make 3, and Homa had to make 1 from these spots for Homa to win, and that's exactly what happened. Normal sport. pic.twitter.com/n0duDa9vsj
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) September 18, 2022
Omg Danny Willett with the biggest choke ever 🤣🤣🤣
— Clutch ⚡️ (@Clvtch21) September 18, 2022
Max Homa chips in on 18 in Napa. Danny Willett has a putt from inside 4ft to win, or two for a play-off. He three-putts. Horrible sport.
— Riath Al-Samarrai (@riathalsam) September 18, 2022
One of the most extraordinarily sporting finishes I’ve seen
2016 Masters champion Danny Willett was $1.01 in live betting on the final hole at the #FortinetChampionship and seemingly home for all money before capitulating and handing victory to defending champion Max Homa.
— Nick Quinn (@Quinny_1) September 18, 2022
That would have been such a great story and win for Danny Willett.
Only PGA tour win was the 2016 Masters. Homa chips in after a bad bunker shot and Danny 3 putts from 3 feet 7 inches to lose.
Haven’t had a ending like this on the pga in some time.
— Brian Kirschner (@BrianKirschner_) September 18, 2022
Omg Danny Willett. What a choke job
— JDS (@J_Rob0525) September 18, 2022
Danny Willett biggest choke artist I’ve ever seen 😂😂😂
— Andy Jorris (@ajorris) September 18, 2022
The moment you had 1 hand on the trophy….then…🙈
Crowds were awesome all week @FortinetChamp & nice to be in the final group for the weekend.
Congrats to @maxhoma23 , good luck in the presidents cup next week 🏆 pic.twitter.com/zsDK6szIdO
— Danny Willett (@Danny_Willett) September 19, 2022
"It was kind of a wild finish," Homa said after the wild finish.
"The last, like, three minutes are kind of a blur. But I played really good golf. I played solid."
Willett remains in search of his first US PGA Tour title since his 2016 Masters triumph, although he's won twice since then on the DP World Tour.
He took a one-shot lead with a birdie at the 14th, where he drained a 15-foot putt from the fringe after an impressive approach shot from behind a tree.
Max Homa defends title after crazy finish
Willett appeared to be in command at the par-five 18th, where he landed his 66-yard third shot less than four feet from the pin, while Homa was in a bunker short and left of the green.
Homa's bunker shot failed to reach the green, settling in a mown swale below the putting surface, but his chip took a couple of small hops and rolled in the cup.
HOLY HOMA.@MaxHoma23 is CLUTCH 💪 https://t.co/dxnqmBKmxi pic.twitter.com/9yIbySCuqU
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) September 18, 2022
"I expected him to do it, but then it's still a bit of a shock when it happens," said Willett, who had outstanding putting all week from within 10 feet but couldn't make his short birdie for the win.
It burned the left edge and failed to drop, and he missed the four-footer coming back as well on the way to a three-under par 69 that gave him a 15-under total of 273.
"Disappointing way to finish, but you know, first out of the season, to be in contention, things are in a good place. We'll live to fight another day," Willett said.
American Taylor Montgomery, making his fifth tour start, defied the rainy, chilly conditions with eight birdies in an eight-under 64 to finish third on 275.
Overnight leader Justin Lower carded a one-over 73 to share fourth on 276 with South Korean An Byeong-hun, who signed for a 71.
Homa's victory at Silverado was one of his two last season, and the American's defence is a warm-up for next week's Presidents Cup showdown in North Carolina.
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