Salt Lake City native Tony Finau played for the losing team in his first Ryder Cup appearance, but he performed very well in Paris.
Finau dominated Tommy Fleetwood, formerly one of Europe's hottest players, in a singles match Sunday at Le Golf National, winning the last five holes of the front nine in an eventual 6-and-4 victory. Playing in three matches of the competition, Finau produced two points in the Americans' 17½-10½ loss.
“I played incredible golf today,” Finau said. “I was controlling the ball nicely and I made some putts ... Just really pleased with my performance [Sunday] and throughout the week.”
As the 12th and last player named to the team, Finau clearly outplayed the other U.S. captain’s picks: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau. His showing Sunday revived questions about why captain Jim Furyk didn’t use him in the afternoon sessions Friday and Saturday.
Finau won seven holes on the the front nine, although Fleetwood temporarily tied him through four holes. Finau responded with three birdies over the next five holes, plus two winning pars, and added two birdies in the five holes they played on the back nine.
“Not that I played great,” Fleetwood said, “but I can't take anything away from Tony. He was so good today.”
In all three of his matches, Finau said, “I was able to control my nerves pretty well.”
Finau's performance as the first homegrown Utahn to appear in the Ryder Cup concluded a 2017-18 season when he finished in the top 10 in three major tournaments and the first three events of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. He finished sixth in the season-long standings and earned more than $6.4 million, counting his $800,000 FedEx Cup bonus.
His participation in the Ryder Cup provided a $100,000 grant to the Tony Finau Foundation from the PGA of America. Finau said he intends to direct those funds toward the building of a youth center in the Rose Park neighborhood of Salt Lake City.
Finau is scheduled to play in this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland. The 2018-19 PGA Tour schedule also starts this week and goes into mid-November, before taking a break.