Masters: Max Homa changing major narrative, posts career best at Augusta National

Despite bogeying the 18th hole early Friday morning, Max Homa carded his best round ever at Augusta National.

His 5-under 67 also happens to be the lowest round of his major championship career.

“It helps playing with Tiger,” Homa said. “You know, you’re very excited to wake up and go play.”

Homa, Tiger Woods, and Jason Day managed to play 13 holes on Thursday before darkness suspended play. At that juncture, Homa sat at 4-under and admitted to having a “good vibe” about him.

That changed somewhat on Friday morning, as different conditions and a change in the wind direction made things much more difficult at The Masters.

But that did not stop Homa, even when he stared adversity directly in the face on the par-4 14th—his opening hole on Friday.

Max Homa, The Masters

Max Homa plays his shot from the 14th tee during the first round of the 2024 Masters.
Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images

After finding the fairway off the tee, Homa misjudged the wind with his approach. He air-mailed the green, setting up a difficult third shot into one of the more undulating greens on the golf course.

His chip shot from beside the patrons landed roughly six feet above the hole, setting up a dreaded knee-knocker to set the tone for the day.

Homa made it, keeping the wind in his sails.

“Made a great putt on our first hole of the day on 14,” Homa said.

“You’re not really settling the nerves, but I felt like I kept up what I was doing really well yesterday. So then I just tried to tee it off, tee it up on 15, and just say we’re right back to work. So that start really helped.”

Homa made an easy par on 15, a par-5, but then he produced some early morning fireworks on the 16th and 17th holes.

On the par-3 16th, Homa laced his tee shot within 10 feet of the flagstick and drained the putt for birdie. That marked his sixth birdie of the day, as Homa relied on his putter to put himself in contention throughout. He gained more strokes on the greens than any other player during the opening round of the 2024 Masters.

But Homa had much more than a hot putter going for him.

On the next hole, Homa fired yet another dart, sticking his second shot to an inch from the cup on the par-4 17th. That got him to 6-under, putting him into a second-place tie with Scottie Scheffler.

Then, on the 18th, Homa found the fairway yet again, but he pushed his second shot into the greenside bunker and could not get up and down.

“I think we did a great job of taking what you can get,” Homa said.

“I made two great swings on 18, for example, and it just kind of leaks into the bunker. Nothing I would change about that.”

Now, Homa, Woods, and Day will continue their Friday marathon at Augusta National with their second round. They began play at 10:18 a.m. ET, as windy conditions will continue to harden the course and fluster the field.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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