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Max Homa triumphant at Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa for first win abroad

SUN CITY, South Africa — Max Homa can finally say he’s an international winner.

Homa shot a 6-under 66 to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa on Sunday for his first win abroad.

Homa finished at 19 under for the tournament, four shots ahead of Nicolai Hojgaard to add to his six PGA TOUR career titles.

Homa secured the win with a final round that included six birdies, an eagle and two bogeys. He pulled away at the top after consecutive birdies on the 15th and 16th holes, where he drained a 38-footer on the par 3.

“It’s kind of what you dream of, you want to be in the fight and it was just fun to kind of close it out at the end,” Homa said. “It was one of those weeks the ball wanted to go in when it needed to go in.”

Hojgaard — who played against Homa at the Ryder Cup — had four birdies in a bogey-free final round 68. Fellow Danish player Thorbjorn Olesen finished third after a 3-under 69 that included two bogeys and a double bogey in his last seven holes.

Homa hadn’t played since the Ryder Cup in Italy that finished on Oct. 1, and where he collected 3.5 points to be the highest scorer for the U.S. in its loss to Europe. His last strokeplay event had been the Fortinet Championship in mid-September.

“It’s just been tremendous to get to travel to a new place, meet so amazing people,” Homa said. “The fans have been amazing, everyone has been so welcoming and kind. To be granted the opportunity to even be here, I was truly grateful for, but to come out with a trophy is just cherry on top.”

Homa played all four rounds in the 60s this week, including a 66 in the opening round at Gary Player Country Club.

Considered by some as “Africa’s Major,” the Nedbank Golf Challenge was the next-to-last event of the season in Europe ahead of next week’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Justin Thomas, who, like Homa was playing on an invitation, finished at 12 under for the tournament in fourth place after a 6-under 66 on Sunday. He also had a 66 on Friday, but shot an even-par 72 on both Thursday and Saturday to see his title chances diminished.

Thomas said he was “proud” of how he played in his rare appearance on the DP World Tour.

“It was a nice day,” Thomas said. “I would’ve liked if Max hadn’t run away so much (and) I had a little bit more of a chance. I felt like I’ve gotten around really well this week for how my game has been and it was nice. I feel like I played some really quality golf today.”

Two-time defending champion Tommy Fleetwood ended at 7 under in a tie for 12th after an even-par 72 on Sunday.

Frenchman Matthieu Pavon, who won the Spanish Open in October for his first DP World Tour victory, entered the final round one shot behind Homa but collapsed on Sunday, shooting a 6-over 78 in a final round that included six bogeys and a double bogey.

Dan Bradbury of England finished in fifth place at 11 under.