Utah’s Tony Finau settles for a 74 in the Masters, even with four birdies

(Matt Slocum | AP) Tony Finau watches his shot on the 10th hole during the first round of the Masters golf tournament on Thursday, April 8, 2021, in Augusta, Ga.

The Tony Finau Foundation has launched a “Birdies for Books” initiative, with the West High School graduate donating 25 books to schools for every birdie he makes in a PGA Tour event.

Finau successfully kicked off the campaign Thursday with four birdies in the first round of the Masters, the trouble being that he still shot 2 over par at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Four bogeys and a double bogey gave him a 74 and a tie for 31st place.

Sandy resident Mike Weir’s 78 was his second-worst opening round in 22 appearances in the Masters, better only than his 82 in 2015.

Finau’s biggest mistake was a wild drive into the trees right of the No. 3 fairway, leading to a double bogey after he went par-birdie to begin the round. He followed with a bogey from a greenside bunker on the par-3 No. 4, before regrouping. He birdied the par-4 No. 7, although his momentum stalled when he failed to birdie the par-5 No. 8, missed a 7-foot birdie try on No. 9 and bogeyed No. 10 after an errant drive left of the fairway.

Finau made two good par saves, before birdieing No. 13. After another par, he hit his second shot into the pond in front of the No. 15 green and made a bogey.

His back-and-forth pattern continued with a 7-foot birdie putt on the par-3 No. 16, before he missed a short par putt on No. 17. In a round capped by a routine par on No. 18, he hit only 6 of 14 fairways and 8 of 18 greens in regulation, below his usual ball-striking standards.

Finau will start Friday’s second round at 8:42 a.m. MDT, needing something around 74 to make another 36-hole cut in his fourth Masters. He’s coming off missed cuts in his last two stroke-play events on the PGA Tour, but has played the weekend rounds in 12 of his last 13 major tournaments.

Weir wants to make the cut in the Masters for the second straight time as a 50-year-old. Any hope of matching his encouraging performance of last November at Augusta National, though, was basically lost Thursday when he followed each of his two birdies with a double bogey on a par-4, Nos. 11 and 14. Those double bogeys were among three 6s on Weir’s scorecard, with the other coming on the par-5 No. 8.

Weir parred his first four holes before going 5 over par on a six-hole stretch, even while making a long birdie putt on the par-4 No. 10. Teeing off Friday at 6:36 a.m. MDT, Weir likely needs to post a 70 or better to make the cut. The last time he played that well at Augusta National was in 2009, when he shot a 68 in the opening round.