4 Takeaways from the 2021 Fortinet Championship – Homa Wins and More

| September 21, 2021 6:30 am PDT

The first event of the 2021-22 PGA Tour season is in the books. Max Homa is back in winner’s circle for the third time, Jon Rahm unexpectedly missed the cut, and Phil was his typical unpredictable self.

As we close the chapter on wine country and look ahead to the Ryder Cup, let’s highlight four takeaways from the 2021 Fortinet Championship.

Homa Surges on the Weekend

After limping into the weekend following a Friday 72, Max Homa caught fire and reeled off a couple of 65s on Saturday and Sunday at Silverado.

Homa leaned on caddie Joe Greiner from start to finish – he went as far as calling his looper a “genius” for knowing exactly how to approach the ultra-firm greens.

For example, it was Greiner who told Max how far to land his wedge out of the rough on the 12th hole on Sunday – a shot that eventually trickled into the hole for an eagle and sparked a back-nine rally. Homa followed up his hole-out on 12 with a 21-footer for birdie on #13 – from there he never looked back.

Max hit a towering five-wood from 246 into the heart of the 16th green leading to a two-putt birdie; he drained an 18-foot curler on #17 to create the separation he needed.

Entering the week with nothing better than a T40 in his last four starts, it’s safe to say that the victory came as a bit of a surprise. Especially to Lacey Croom (Max’s wife), who in all her time watching her husband on tour had only witnessed a single top-10 finish.

Phil Tinkers with an Armlock Putter

Phil’s experiment with the armlock putter was going according to plan. Through 54 holes at the Fortinet Championship, Lefty had improved on the greens each day and was a lofty +5.288 in the SG: Putting department.

And then came Mickelson’s trials and tribulations on Sunday.

Phil missed three birdies putts from inside 12 feet on the front nine – he finished the tournament whiffing from 8’, 6’, and 10’. When the dust had settled on the final round, Phil has lost a whopping 3.158 strokes on the green, virtually wiping away all of the good work he had done early in the week.

Whether or not we’ll see Phil sporting the armlock putter next time out, will be up in the air. What we do know is Mickelson won’t compete on the PGA Tour again in 2021.

“So, this will be my last TOUR event this year and then I’ll play Timuquana and I may play a couple more and I may not, we’ll see how I feel.”

Timuquana is the site of the Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS, an inaugural event on Champions TOUR taking place from October 8-10.

Jon Rahm is Human, After All

Jon Rahm admittedly was a little self-indulgent early in the week. Taking advantage of the good food and wine in Napa, Rahm may have gone a little overboard.

“Just a little run down from the season. That’s my best guess. Maybe having a little bit too much good rich food on Monday and Tuesday just did it for my stomach.”

Rahm woke up feeling achy on Wednesday, enough to cause him to withdrawal from the Pro-Am, and he clearly wasn’t himself from then on. “Rahmbo” actually wound-up losing strokes to the field, but there’s nothing to read into here.

If anything, an extra couple of days of rest should serve the world #1 well as he saunters into Whistling Straits.

Regardless of his MC at the Fortinet Championship, Jon is undoubtedly the top dog in Ryder Cup power rankings.

Mito Pereira is the Real Deal

After stamping his ticket to the PGA Tour via the KFT Battlefield Promotion (first player since Wesley Bryan in 2016), Mito Pereira was a popular name among those searching for breakout stars in 2022. On the heels of finishing solo-third in Napa, I’m ready to jump on the Pereira bandwagon as well.

First and foremost, the dude passes the eye test with flying colors. His swing is pure as nails – not too dissimilar from fellow Chilean Joaquin Niemann.

Secondly, he’s not afraid of contending and understands how to finish, as evidenced by winning three times on the Korn Ferry Tour this past season. And thirdly, Mito is a premium ball-striker. At least that was the rumor going into Napa.

Mito Pereira – By the Numbers at the 2021 Fortinet Championship

  • 1st in SG: Tee-to-Green
  • 2nd in SG: Approach
  • 11th in SG: Off-the-Tee

It’s safe to say that assertion is spot on. 

Looking Ahead to the 2021 Ryder Cup

Maverick McNealy’s costly double-bogey on the 71st hole leaves us wondering what could have been.

In the end, it was a hard-fought win for Max Homa and a victory that should propel the Cal product to bigger and better things.

As McNealy, Homa, and others rest during the upcoming week, the focus shifts to Sheboygan and the 2021 Ryder Cup.

Check out the top players to watch below.

Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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