Tony Finau’s second — and last — round of the 121st U.S. Open quickly became a struggle Friday. On two of the first five holes, he made difficult putts just to save bogeys after taking two shots from the thick rough around the greens of Torrey Pines Golf Course near San Diego.
The rest of the day was hardly any easier for the West High School graduate, who was eliminated from the weekend rounds for only the second time in the last 16 major tournaments. Finau (74-76) shot 8-over par and missed the 36-hole cut by four strokes, somewhat resembling his showing in the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links in California.
Finau played with his right wrist taped, suggesting he was not fully healthy. Whatever the reason, his game was way off target. In two rounds, he found only five of 28 fairways on the driving holes and hit 16 of 36 greens in regulation.
In a tweet after the first round, Finau described this week’s setup of Torrey Pines as “a great and grueling test of golf.” The unspoken comparison was to the nature of the course in January, when Finau has thrived annually in the PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open.
There was no carryover for him from that event to the U.S. Open. This event now has produced three of Finau’s four missed cuts in 21 career majors, although he also has three top-15 finishes in the Open.
Finau’s problems with driving accuracy this week prevented him from going for the green in two shots on par-5 holes. And after laying up, he bogeyed the par-5 No. 18 (his ninth hole of the day) when his third shot went into the water in front of the green. No. 18 was the only hole he birdied Thursday.
His only birdie in Friday’s round came on the par-4 No. 5, starting with a rare case of hitting the fairway. That breakthrough came after he had made five bogeys, and he closed with another bogey on the par-5 No. 9.
The poor showing at Torrey Pines may hurt Finau’s chances of playing in the Ryder Cup in September. He entered the tournament at No. 9 in the U.S. standings, and can only move down after missing the cut. Six players will automatically qualify for the team and Finau obviously didn’t do anything this week to impress Steve Stricker, who will make six captain’s picks to complete the roster.
Finau is scheduled to play in next week’s Travelers Championship in Connecticut. The final major of the year is the British Open, July 15-18 at Royal St. George’s in England. Finau’s run of making the cut in 14 of 15 majors had started in the 2016 British Open.