In his last major golf tournament before turning 30, Tony Finau will be trying to extend one successful streak and launch another.
The Lehi resident has played well in all three of his previous British Open appearances, including a tie for ninth place last July. But he’s regrouping after his run of making the 36-hole cut in eight straight majors ended last month in the U.S. Open.
The PGA Tour’s 2018-19 calendar is accelerated, designed to end prior to the football season. So this week’s British Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland is the final major of the season, and the FedEx Cup Playoffs will be staged in August. The timetable means that Finau must make an immediate push in hopes of making the U.S. team that will compete in the Presidents Cup in Australia in December.
That’s the biggest remaining goal for Finau in the 2018-19 season, in his quest to play in an another international team event after performing well in the Ryder Cup in France last September. He’s 10th in the U.S. standings; the top eight players as of Aug. 18 will automatically qualify and four captain’s picks will be added.
TONY’S TEE TIMES
Tony Finau will play the first two rounds of the British Open with Justin Rose and Lucas Bjerregaard. They will tee off Thursday afternoon in Northern Ireland, translating to 7:48 a.m. MDT, and play Friday morning, starting at 2:47 a.m. MDT.
A good showing this week would boost his stock, concluding a series of 2019 majors that started with his tie for fifth place in the Masters, followed by a tie for 64th with a disappointing final round in the PGA Championship. Finau has contended at some point in the past three British Opens, with a worst finish of a tie for 27th. As he said after the first experience on that stage, “I found out that my game could travel, more than anything else. I’d never played true links golf before. … I think my game is suited to that kind of golf."
With the FedEx Cup Playoffs reduced from four to three events, Finau is almost assured of making the 30-player field for the season-ending Tour Championship. He's No. 18 in the standings.
Finau is No. 17 in the Official World Golf Ranking, positioning him to play in all four majors again in 2020 via a top-50 ranking. He's at the level in pro golf where the playing opportunities perpetuate themselves, with entry into events such as next week's World Golf Championship event in Memphis, Tenn.
Finau just needs to capitalize on some of these chances to make a move in the Presidents Cup standings, while hoping to become more consistent. The U.S. Open came during a series of three missed cuts in a row, the worst stretch of his five seasons on the PGA Tour, but he showed some good signs with a top-25 finish in the 3M Open in Minnesota before taking last week off.