Utah’s Tony Finau makes four birdies to salvage a 74 in the PGA Championship

West High graduate endures erratic third round, falls out of top 40

Tony Finau watches his tee shot on the 17th hole during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Southern Hills Country Club, Saturday, May 21, 2022, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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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