Max Homa tees up his ball at the par-3 11th at Torrey Pines. Seconds removed from watching Brooks Koepka misjudge the wind and find the greenside bunker, Homa is holding a two-shot lead in the U.S. Open.
After bogeying the hole in each of his first three rounds, Homa wants to reach the top half of a severe shelf on the back of the green and avoid a 50-foot uphill putt at the 222-yard hole.
If that scenario presents itself at the 2021 U.S. Open, Homa, facing one of the most difficult tee shots of his life, will channel Harry Potter in visualizing a perfect shot.
“I think visualization is really important in golf when you’re nervous or when you’re seeing bad stuff,” Homa told Olivia Harlan Dekker on Unleashed. “Sometimes if I’m really, really nervous over a shot . . . I overvisualize my golf ball flying in the air.”
The 30-year-old California is returning to his home state for his third career appearance in the U.S. Open and returning to Torrey Pines’ South Course five months after finishing 18th in the Farmers Insurance Open. And as of Wednesday, he sits alongside Gary Woodland, Sergio Garcia, and others in U.S. Open odds. In hoping to make his second career cut at a major championship en route to final-round contention, Homa will use those visualization techniques, he said on this week’s episode of Unleashed.
“This is gonna be super nerdy . . . in Harry Potter, there’s this scene [with time travel]. And he didn’t know he could do something but he realized at one point it was him in the future, so he already knew he could do it. He just went and did it.”