PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Max Homa described his second round in one word: scrappy.
“It was pretty fun to rely on my short game and have it bail me out,” he said. “I’ve been working hard to make a weakness to at least be average. To have it be a strength today was awesome.”
Homa made six birdies en route to shooting 3-under 68 at Riviera Country Club on Friday, his 13th consecutive round at par or better at The Genesis Invitational. He improved to a 36-hole total of 10-under 132 and a one-stroke lead over Keith Mitchell and Jon Rahm.
After an early birdie at the third, Homa made bogeys at six and eight, but bounced back to make four birdies in a five-hole stretch.
“I’m doing a good job of not dwelling on bogeys and thinking my golf game’s not there,” he said. “I thought I did a great job on the front nine knowing that I was going to play better.”
The lone non-birdie between Nos. 9 and 13 may have been the best of all as he rescued par from a fried-egg lie in the front bunker.
“I deserved it, but oddly enough, if that wouldn’t have plugged and gone back in the middle of the bunker, I don’t think I could have gotten it as close,” Homa said. “So it was probably a lucky break, oddly enough.”
HOW?!@MaxHoma23 with the par save of the day @TheGenesisInv. pic.twitter.com/sfR3TIgMuE
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) February 18, 2023
Through 36 holes, Homa, who won this event in 2021, is leading the field in putting, gaining more than three strokes in each round so far.
“I think I see the bumps on the poa annua green and I don’t cringe, doesn’t give me the shivers, I enjoy it,” he said. “I know people are going to get frustrated and I like that in a competition.”
Homa enjoyed his first share of an 18-hole lead and he was proud that he was able to build on that on Friday.
“I kind of feel like I should be doing this when I’m playing well, and I am playing well,” he said. “Yeah, it’s exciting, 36-hole leads are awesome. Like I said, there’s a long way to go, but regardless, I can rest on the fact I’m playing great golf and I’m just going to try and do that for two more days.”