Homa closed with a 66 at the Gary Player Country Club that included a memorable eagle on the ninth to win by four shots on 19 under par. It was the first victory by an American in this tournament since Jim Furyk in 2006, and it capped what Homa described as a life-changing first visit to Africa.
“Back home I’m fortunate to get a lot of great support. But I just can’t really get over that I can come across the world to people I’ve never met and they can be this kind and welcoming. I had these kids following me all day and they kept boosting me whenever it got tight and they kept cheering my name. I also had the mantra of rather be the lion than the impala in my head. And walking up 18 and that ovation was extra special. I just have to give so much credit to this country and the quality of the people,” said Homa.
Homa started strong and was three under through eight holes. Despite this he still had to withstand a strong charge from Denmark’s Thorbjørn Olesen, and the key moment came on the iconic par-five ninth hole.
“The shot of the tournament for me was on nine. If you’d told me I was three under through eight I would’ve thought I’d be leading and I was rather surprised to be tied for the lead with Thorbjørn on the ninth fairway. My swing felt good and I wanted to make a statement to myself, so I hit a beautiful three iron onto that green and made a relatively easy putt. It was a good time to hit a great shot.”
Olesen couldn’t sustain his charge and finished third on 14 under with a 69, while Nicolai Højgaard pushed through with a 68 to finish second on 15 under par. Justin Thomas came with a strong final round of 66 to take fourth place on 12 under par. And Hennie du Plessis finished as the leading South African in sixth place on 10 under par and on his debut in this tournament.
But on yet another memorable Sunday afternoon at Sun City, it was Homa who birdied two of his final four holes to add his name to the long list of great champions of this tournament.
“I walked down that walkway to the ninth green today again and I pictured a plaque with my name on italongside all the other greats there. It’s awesome to add my name to that. This is one of the more memorable weeks I’ve ever had. The safari we had last weekend – I just can’t put it into words. Then to come out here and put the cherry on top is fantastic. I’m excited to get home and see my son. I left when he had two teeth and nowhe’s got six.”
And as he flies home with a cheque for just over one million dollars, that’s the tooth fairy taken care of as well.