Tony Finau spread his arms and looked skyward in an expression of wonder after making a long birdie putt on No. 7 during Saturday’s third round of the PGA Championship.
The West High School graduate had quite the adventure at Southern Hills Country Club, producing four birdies – three of them from 32 feet or longer – after missing a bunch of shorter opportunities in the first two rounds. He needed all of those birdies, including two on the last two holes, just to produce a 4-over-par 74, while falling below the top 40 entering Sunday’s final round in Tulsa, Okla.
Once the subject of a Golf Digest cover story detailing his “slice-proof swing,” Finau could have used more shots that sailed to the right on Saturday. He made six bogeys and a double bogey. Of those eight shots lost to par, seven could be attributed directly to drives or par-3 tee shots that went too far to the left.
Finau double bogeyed the par-4 No. 2 for the second straight day, again driving into the stream on the left side (after birdieing that hole in the first round). He missed the greens on the par-3 Nos. 6 and 8 with wild tee shots.
To break up the theme, Finau hit the fairway on the par-5 No. 13, only to hit his second shot into the water.
But he battled back. Finau made a 32-footer from off the green for a birdie on the par-4 No. 14. He then got up and down with a 10-foot birdie putt after driving into a greenside bunker on the short par-4 No. 17, and holed a 44-foot putt on the par-4 No. 18.
The late flurry helped Finau produce a plus-2.2 rating for the round in the PGA Tour’s “strokes gained putting” statistic, in which he typically loses ground. That finish also gave Finau a chance to top his performance in the first major tournament of the 2022 season, a tie for 35th place in the Masters.
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