Utah golfer Tony Finau hopes latest PGA Tour win will inspire his kids

A week after winning the 3M Open, the Salt Lake City native set a tournament record in Detroit by finishing at 26 under, winning by five strokes.

Tony Finau holds the winner’s trophy after the final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic golf tournament, Sunday, July 31, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Tony Finau started the hottest month in Utah weather history by watching his son play in a junior tournament in Murray and will start August in Farmington, hosting his foundation’s pro-am tournament.

In between, the West High School graduate smoked his PGA Tour competitors with the best two-week performance for any state-connected professional golfer. After spending 5 years and 5 months between his first and second tour titles, Finau needed only a brief stint in the Upper Midwest to claim two more trophies and combined earnings of nearly $3 million. .

That’s what shooting 43-under par for 144 holes will do for you, as Finau followed up his win at the 3M Open in Minnesota with victory Sunday at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Michigan. He shot 64-66-65-67 for 26-under at Detroit Golf Club and a five-shot win over Patrick Cantlay, Cameron Young and Taylor Pendrith.

That’s a good thing, coming from a golfer who was once known as a bad player.

“I’m proud of how I’ve fought through adversity throughout my career, and now I’m a back-to-back champion,” Finau told a news conference. “That’s what’s happening. They say a winner is just a loser who keeps trying, and that’s me to a “T”. …I’m only here as a winner because I chose not to give up and keep going.

Amid all the disclaimers, such as pitches weakened by LIV Tour defectors or a lull between major tournament season and the FedExCup playoffs, Finau’s ball shots provided an emphatic argument for the merits of his accomplishments in July. In Detroit, he hit 66 of 72 greens in regulation (91.6%), tying the third-best rate on the PGA Tour since the stat began being tracked in 1980. Finau made that accuracy possible with his irons by hitting 46 of 56 fairways (82.1%) on a tight three-line course.

Finau hit seven (of 16) par-5 holes in two shots for the week. So while hitting every regulation green for 72 holes on a par-72 course would theoretically require 144 strokes, he needed 143 swings to hit the greens in Detroit.

“Winners are so special here, because they are so rare,” Finau said. “The PGA Tour is where the best players in the world are. No matter the tournament, you have to play well, you have to win. To have deserved these last two [wins] is very satisfying.

His four-day tally was also eight strokes ahead of last year’s win total and broke the tournament record of 25 under, set in 2019 by two-time Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open winner Nate Lashley. As of Sunday’s conclusion of The Open Championship in St. Andrews, Finau has only shot higher than 67 once in his last nine rounds – and it was a 68.

Finau, a Salt Lake City native whose family of five now spends the summer in Lehi and the school year in Arizona, played the first 64 holes of the tournament bogey-free. He threw three putts from 70ft on the par-3 #11, before birdieing 30ft on the par-4 #12. 54 holes, after being tied with Pendrith and going 0 for 5 in that position.

Although he won by three shots with a big comeback in Minnesota, Finau was disappointed with a wobbly finish. Sunday was another story. “All I wanted to do this week was show that I’m a winner and a champion,” he said on the CBS telecast, “and I think I did that today. .”

So a golfer who ranked 150th in FedEx Cup points at the end of February is now seventh, with a chance to win $18 million for winning the season’s competition. Finau will spend this week in Utah, with his core pro-am tied to the Korn Ferry Tour Utah Championship at Oakridge Country Club, then compete in all three playoff events, starting Aug. 11 in Memphis. He automatically qualified to play for Team USA at the Presidents Cup in North Carolina in September.

Finau writes an annual list of goals, and “one of my goals was to be a multiple winner on tour this season,” he said. “To be able to accomplish that is amazing. Another goal was to win the FedEx Cup, and I put myself in a position to do that.”

As a resident of Draper, Mike Weir won two PGA Tour titles in three starts, with a tie for third place between the two, over a four-week stint in California in February 2003. This race is the only real challenger of Finau’s performance in July in Utah. professional golfers. On the amateur side, Preston Summerhays, whose father, Boyd, coaches Finau, won State Am at Midway and US Junior Am in Ohio for consecutive weeks in July 2019 by going 12-0 in game play.

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