Utah’s Tony Finau rallies for another top-10 finish in the Masters

He makes a 45-foot pitch shot out of pine straw on the 14th hole for one of his four birdies over the final six holes.

(David J. Phillip | AP) Tony Finau fist pumps his caddie Mark Urbanek after a birdie on the 18th green during the final round of the Masters golf tournament on Sunday, April 11, 2021, in Augusta, Ga.

For a third year in a row, West High School graduate Tony Finau finished the Masters with an even-par round. Sunday’s 72 was far more adventurous than the others.

Finau made three birdies from off the green on the back nine of Augusta National Golf Club, rallying for a tie for 10th place at 3 under par for the tournament.

Three drives into the pine straw to the right of the fairways during the final round set the stage for some of the most spectacular shots in Finau’s brief history in the Masters. A remarkable par on No. 7 and birdies on Nos. 14 and 18 helped him place in the top 10 for the third time in four visits to Augusta National and the eighth time in the last 12 major tournaments.

Will Zalatoris finished second to Hideki Matsuyama by one stroke, 10 months after placing fourth in the Korn Ferry Tour’s Utah Championship in Farmington, one shot out of a playoff.

After bogeying Nos. 11 and 12, Finau stood 3 over par for the day and well outside of the top 10. Even after a birdie on No. 13, his outlook turned bleak again when he drove into the pine straw on the par-4 No. 14. But after punching his ball short of the green, he holed a 45-yard pitch shot for a birdie. The ball went well beyond the hole before trickling down and into the cup.

A similar shot on No. 7 was even more amazing. Finau’s ball caught a branch on his second shot, leaving him in the pine straw, 114 yards from the hole. He played a low shot that caromed off the lip of a bunker, traveled to the back of the green and then down to within a foot of the hole as he saved par.

Finau’s first birdie of the day came via a 20-foot putt from the fringe on No. 13. His only conventional birdie stemmed from a 6-foot putt on the par-3 No. 16, where he expertly played the slope of the green on his tee shot.

After another errant drive led to a bogey on No. 17, Finau again found the pine straw on No. 18. This time, he missed the green to the left, but was close enough to use his putter and made a 27-footer for a birdie.

Finau’s tie for 10th in his first Masters appearance in 2018 resulted from a run of six birdies on the back nine on Sunday, giving him a 66. He tied for fifth place in 2019 and tied for 38th last November.

Finau will take this week off before playing with Cameron Champ in the PGA Tour’s team event in New Orleans. The next major tournament is the PGA Championship, May 20-23 at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina.

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