Salt Lake City native Tony Finau made six birdies in 17 holes in his opening match of the Presidents Cup, but only two of them won holes for his U.S. team in a losing effort.
International players Adam Scott and Byeong Hun An took a 2-and-1 win over Finau and Bryson DeChambeau in a four-ball match Wednesday (Thursday in Australia) at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
The International team, with Sandy resident Mike Weir as an assistant captain, took a surprising lead in the four-day competition that continues with five foursomes (alternate-shot) matches in the second round.
Finau birdied the par-3 No. 5 from 5 feet to pull his team into a tie, but birdies by An (No. 6) and Scott (No. 9) gave the International duo a 2-up lead at the turn.
Finau's 19-foot birdie putt on the par-4 No. 12 cut the lead to one hole, but he bogeyed No. 13 and was not getting much help from DeChambeau as An/Scott went 2 up. Finau then birdied Nos. 14 and 15, but so did Scott.
The match ended when Finau's 12-foot birdie attempt slid past the hole on No. 17 and Scott made a short par putt.
Finau is now 2-2 in international competition, after going 2-1 in the American team’s loss in the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris. That showing led U.S. captain Tiger Woods to pick him for the Presidents Cup, and Finau cited his experience of playing in the final threesome in April when Woods won the Masters as good preparation.
“I played in probably one of the biggest stages, if not the biggest stage, I’ll ever have in my career with Tiger on Sunday at the Masters this year,” Finau said in a pretournament news conference. “I fee like having dealt with that, I can just about deal with anything in this game when it comes to pressure.”