Tony Finau and Rory McIlroy staged a Utah Junior Golf Association reunion Sunday, playing together in the final round of the PGA Championship. It was a good day for one of them.
Finau, a West High School graduate and Lehi resident, fell apart on the back nine, posting an 8-over-par 43 on his way to a closing 79 and a tie for 64th place at Bethpage Black in New York. Finau posted his worst showing in the last eight major tournaments, after starting the final round in a tie for 26th.
McIlroy beat him by 10 strokes Sunday. The two had become friends in 2000, when McIlroy spent the summer in Utah as an 11-year-old from Northern Ireland (Finau was 10).
To summarize the final round for Finau, he posted a double bogey on the par-5 No. 13, where he had made an eagle in Saturday’s round in shooting a 69. Finau ended up about where he started the weekend in the standings, as his inconsistent driving caught up to him Sunday. He hit 5 of 14 fairways in the final round, and that statistic tells only part of the story. Finau drove into native areas on Nos. 13 and 18, explaining how he played those holes in 12 strokes Sunday — compared with six strokes Saturday. He played the first five holes of the back nine in 6 over par, after shooting a front-nine 36.
Finau is exempt for the remaining two majors of 2019, the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California in June and the British Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland in July. He is entered in this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.