LA QUINTA, Calif. – Different tournament, same result for Tony Finau.
Tied for the lead heading into the final round of the American Express, Finau made birdie on his first two holes to grab a two-stroke lead. It looked as if he was on his way to collecting his first PGA Tour title since the 2016 Puerto Rico Open. But it was not to be.
Finau made birdie at the 18th hole to shoot 4-under 68, but it was too little too late. He finished at 19-under, four strokes behind the winner, Si Woo Kim. The 31-year-old was alone in fourth place, his 35th top-10 finish since his lone Tour title. It also marked the fourth time he’s held or shared the 54-hole lead without tasting victory.
“I had some opportunities, I think, to shoot a number,” Finau said.
Finau missed two short putts, the first a 4-footer for birdie at No. 7, and the second, a 3-footer for par at No. 11, where he made a sloppy bogey.
“That’s probably where I’m looking back on the back nine where I had some momentum and hit a good tee shot on 11. I had a take a little bit off my 3-iron so I decided to just hit a really low draw and just barely pulled it, just enough for it to go in the water,” Finau said. “All hope wasn’t lost, of course, I should have been able to get that up-and-down. I was almost too confident in that short putt, I hit it too hard. Still thought I made it and it just power lipped out.”
Finau called it “a tough pill to swallow,” and, adding to his misery, he dropped another shot at No. 14 to officially seal his fate.
Finau’s inability to close on Sunday remains one of golf’s unsolved mysteries. As former PGA Championship winner Rich Beem, working as a commentator for Sky Sports this week, put it, “he’s too talented not to win.”
On Saturday, Finau conceded that he was growing tired of being asked when he’d finally win, but those questions will linger longer. Still, one of golf’s nicest guys had a smile on his face and remains upbeat.
“Usually when I walk off the 72nd hole I have a pretty good sense of how long it’s going to sting. I’m pretty encouraged right now,” he said. “I played nicely. I’ve been working on some things in my golf swing, changed up the putter this week (and used a conventional putting stroke for then first time since 2019), some positives for me and I like where the game’s at. It’s real early in the calendar year. I didn’t play very good in Maui, so this is actually pretty encouraging for me.”
Finau returns to action next week at the Farmers Insurance Open. He’s never finished outside the top-25 in six previous starts at Torrey Pines.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/01/24/pga-tour-tony-finau-winless-streak-american-express/