Tony Finau’s strong Sunday at the U.S. Open gives him his best major finish since 2019, as Zac Blair has a career week at Pinehurst

Tony Finau climbed back to finish tied for third at the U.S. Open. Blair has best major appearance of his career.

It’s been three years since Tony Finau had back-to-back, top-20 major championship finishes.

Now in the past month, Finau tied for 18th place at the PGA Championship and charged up the leaderboard on Sunday to tie for third at the U.S. Open. He shot 3-under-par 67 on the final day — tied for the best round on the course — and did nearly all of it with his short game and approach. He had three birdies on the back nine and an eagle on the fifth hole.

(Mike Stewart | AP) Tony Finau putts on the sixth hole during the final round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Sunday, June 16, 2024, in Pinehurst, N.C.

He ended just two shots behind eventual winner Bryson DeChambeau. If it weren’t for a triple-bogey on the 13th hole on Saturday, he would have been in contention going into the final day.

Similarly, fellow Utah native Zac Blair’s decade-long journey back to Pinehurst proved to be worth the wait. He flirted with being inside the top 10 for the first two days of the tournament. It took nearly flawless iron play as he gave up significant yardage off the tee. At a place like Pinehurst, which favors driving distance, Blair being in contention at all was a feat.

He tied for 26th — the highest finish at a major in his career. The last time he went to Pinehurst — his major debut in 2014 — he was tied for 40th.

For Finau, his US Open was ultimately undone on the 13th hole Saturday. He couldn’t get his ball to stay on the green as it rolled off several times from under 40 yards out. He ended up with a 7 on a par-4. In the span of two holes, he went from being inside the top two with Ludvig Åberg to being five strokes back and out of the tournament. He lost nearly a stroke on the field around the green on Saturday.

It doomed an otherwise strong week where Finau was near the top of the field in shots gained tee-to-green. His approach play, which is typically his calling card, ranked inside the top five.

His putting held up for the most part, too. Finau’s work on the green has been the biggest letdown the last few seasons, but particularly in 2024. He gained strokes putting on Thursday and Saturday.

The Salt Lake golfer had his best showing at a major since the British Open in 2019 (when he finished solo third).

As for Blair, it was always going to be difficult to sustain the level of iron play he managed on Thursday and Friday. He was second in the field in approach play on Thursday and gained nearly a stroke on Friday.

But his length off the tee caught up to him over the weekend. Consistently hitting much longer clubs because he ranked 151st in driving distance, he eventually fell off to shoot 5-over on Saturday. He shot 2-over on Sunday to post a plus-6 on the tournament.

He consistently hit fairways, nearly 85% of them, but he lost nearly three strokes on approach play over the weekend.