Tony Finau on verge of his biggest win yet at Phoenix Open
Fans at the Waste Management Phoenix Open are treated to a show every year, particularly on the Saturday of the event. This year, the Saturday show was provided by Tony Finau. Finau made nine birdies Saturday and no bogeys for a scintillating 62 to grab a one-shot lead and control of the event.
A victory here would be quite the start for Finau’s Scottsdale life. The 30-year-old recently moved his family to the Arizona golf hotbed and is playing this event for the first time since the move. If he is able to get it done, it will be the biggest result of Finau’s young and very promising career. Despite being ranked in the top 20 in the world for the last 18 months, he has still only won the Puerto Rico Open, an alternate field event. His first place finish there in 2016, according the OWGR, is only the 8th-best result of his career to date.
A win Sunday would earn him 54 world ranking points and would vault him back into the top 10 in the world.
Much of Finau’s show this week has come while he wore a Kobe Bryant jersey. Early in the week, Finau played the 16th hole wearing a yellow, no. 8 Lakers jersey over his normal competitive attire, noting how Bryant was a role model for him. He even wore purple and yellow Nike golf shoes with “RIP Mamba” written on the side.
Finau made par on the famous 16th Thursday, but wowed the crowd with a birdie from off the green Friday, mimicking a jump shot and pointing to the name “Bryant” on his back. It was the only jersey he’s ever purchased, he said. Then Saturday happened, where Finau nearly sent the stands into chaos as he stuck his approach inside four feet.
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He’d make the short putt for his 9th birdie of the day and reach 16 under, finishing there and one shot ahead of Webb Simpson. J.B. Holmes, Hudson Swafford and Xander Schauffele are also in the hunt.
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