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Utah’s Tony Finau moves into the Masters top 10 and earns some crystal with a 66

Fellow Utahn Mike Weir fails to make the cut at Augusta, but he finishes with solid 71.

(David J. Phillip | AP) Tony Finau reacts after missing an eagle putt on the 15th hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament on Friday, April 9, 2021, in Augusta, Ga.

The second round of the Masters became another episode of “Finau Fridays,” and this one produced a prize. West High School graduate Tony Finau, known for often getting into contention in pro golf tournaments going into the weekend, did it again at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

Finau’s 6-under-par 66, even with a bogey on the 18th hole, moved him into a tie for sixth place at 4 under for the tournament. Justin Rose (65-72) is the leader at 7 under.

Finau’s 66 featured an eagle and six birdies and tied Bernd Wiesberger for the lowest score of the second round. Each player receives a crystal vase for the achievement.

Having begun the tournament with a 74, Finau said, “I feel really good, especially after [Thursday’s] round.”

Sandy resident Mike Weir missed the 36-hole cut by two strokes, although he completed his 22nd appearance in the Masters with a solid 71 after opening with a 78.

Finau shot a 64 in the third round of the Masters in 2019 and a 66 in the final round in 2018. He played the first two rounds this week with Justin Thomas, who also bogeyed No. 18 to settle for a 67 and a tie with Finau at 4 under.

Cameron Champ, winner of the Korn Ferry Tour’s 2018 Utah Championship in Farmington, also is in the group tied for sixth. Champ and Finau will play together this month in the PGA Tour’s team event in New Orleans. Will Zalatoris, who finished one stroke out of a playoff in last summer’s Utah Championship, is tied for second at Augusta National.

Finau tied for 38th place in last November’s Masters. He had finished in the top 10 in seven of the previous 10 major tournaments, including three in a row.

In Friday’s round, Finau played Augusta National’s four par-5 holes in 4 under par. A 346-yard drive cutting the left corner of the No. 2 fairway led to his 8-foot eagle putt, then he chipped close for a birdie on No. 8. He missed a 5-foot birdie attempt on No. 13, but tapped in for a birdie on No. 15 after barely missing an eagle putt.

“I took care of the par-5s,” Finau said. “That’s important around Augusta National. Stats always show that the guys that do that throughout the week usually have a chance to do something good.”

Finau’s other front-nine birdies came on the par-3 No. 6 and the par-4 No. 9 (where he made a 45-foot putt from just off the front of the green), giving him a 31 on that side. His approach shots on two back-other par-4s, Nos. 10 and 14, set up birdies from within 5 feet.

His only bogeys came on the par-3 No. 12, where his tee shot sailed over the green on the left side, and on No. 18, where he hit a poor shot out of the fairway bunker and then missed a 5-foot par putt.

Weir’s fourth birdie of the second round came via an 8-foot putt on No. 18. That was the longest putt he made all day, during a good ball-striking round.

“If I could have putted a little better, it would have been a really good score,” Weir said.

In six rounds at Augusta National as 50-year-old, in November and April, Weir shot even par or better four times. A gap in the PGA Tour Champions schedule meant Weir had gone more than a month without playing competitively, prior to this week.

“That tournament rust, I think, showed up the first day and then I found my groove and played very nicely,” said Weir, whose senior golf calendar resumes next week in Florida.

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