Even though he double-bogeyed the 18th hole Sunday, Tony Finau posted the best finish in the U.S. Open for a homegrown Utahn in 87 years.
Finau’s adventurous round of five birdies and five bogeys ended poorly, as he fell to fifth place at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club with a 2-over-par 72 and a 5-over total for the tournament. He briefly stood alone in third place, but Dustin Johnson birdied the par-4 No. 18 and then Finau drove his ball into the rough and needed four shots to reach the green. The double bogey dropped Finau below Patrick Reed, who finished fourth.
“Unfortunate what happened on 18, but to post my first top-five finish in a major this week is pretty cool,” Finau said.
Finau earned nearly $475,000 for fifth, giving him more than $10 million in career earnings in his fourth PGA Tour season. He topped a tie for sixth by St. George native Jay Don Blake in the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in California. George Von Elm, a West High School alumnus like Finau, lost in a playoff in the 1931 U.S. Open at Inverness in Ohio.
Among golfers living in Utah at the time, Finau’s finish is the best in the U.S. Open since Sandy resident Mike Weir tied for fourth at Shinnecock Hills in 2004.
The Lehi resident started the final round in a four-way tie for the lead. He bogeyed Nos. 2, 3 and 4, but played his way back to even par for the day with five birdies (including three in a four-hole stretch), mixed with two more bogeys. His last hope of catching the winner, Brooks Koepka, ended when he missed a birdie chance on the par-3 No. 17.
“This is the first major championship where I was really in contention. ... Coming down the stretch, having a chance to try and catch [Koepka], it was really fun for me,” Finau said.
Finau’s previous best showings in major tournaments were his ties for 10th in the 2015 PGA Championship and the 2018 Masters. He has posted five top-20 finishes in his nine appearances in majors.
Finau moved from No. 12 to No. 11 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings and from No. 37 to No. 31 in the Official World Golf Ranking, matching his career high.
He’s in the field for the two remaining majors of 2018, the British Open at Carnoustie in Scotland in July and the PGA Championship at Bellerive in St. Louis in August.