PROVO — Tony Finau paused from the National Golf Tour just long enough to pick up a $3,000 paycheck for a win at the Provo Open on Sunday and he made it look easy.
Finau fired a 7-under par 65 in the final round to finish 64-67-65 — 196 for a score of 20-under par and won by six shots.
"I didn't start out very well. I made par on a birdie hole on the first hole and bogeyed the second. But I settled down and played pretty well after that. This is an exciting win for me. I've played in this several times but never won it."
With Finau never in jeopardy of losing his lead in the final round, the real battle came for second place between Zach Johnson, Utah Valley University's Mason Casper and Riverside assistant Chris Moody. All tied for second at 14-under 202.
Mason, who made the NCAA West Regionals this spring as a senior at UVU, will try to qualify for the USGA Public Links on Tuesday at Glen Eagle before competing in the Art City Amateur next week. He won low amateur honors Sunday, three strokes ahead of Mike Jurca.
Johnson played even with Finau through the first six holes, but got momentum after hitting his tee shot in the left lake, dropping and hitting his approach after the penalty to a foot for par. On the next hole he made birdie on No. 7 and was on his way.
Finau went 7-under par in the next 12 holes, while Johnson failed to make putts on par-3s and 4s to close, Finau did exactly that.
"It was the same strategy as before. I knew anything could happen on the back nine, but that is where I needed to keep making 4s on the 5s and I did."
Finau had 8 birdies and one bogey in his final round.
Pete Stone finished fifth at 13-under, while BYU's Patrick Fishburn was 9-under with Matt Baird.
Finau was a late entry into the Provo Open. He was supposed to be in Samoa this week with the late NFL superstar Junior Seau doing a golf clinic. His previous plans had him going from Samoa, then a tournament in Detroit this coming week. But after doing a charity event in Maui sponsored by former Hawaii coach June Jones, he returned to Utah to "rest" by playing in the 73rd annual event at East Bay Golf Course.
Finau started the day a couple of shots ahead of Johnson at 13-under par. He got it to 18-under par after 13 holes and kept Johnson at bay heading into the far side of the back nine.
Pin placements were on slopes and in corners again Sunday, forcing players to gamble if they tried to attack the holes. Finau repeated his Friday strategy by being patient on the front and then going for birdies to hold or extend his lead on the back nine which features three reachable par 5s.
Finau easily made birdies at No. 12 and 13 but got a bonus on the par-4 No. 10 when his tee shot landed left of the green to where he lobbed an approach to within three feet for a tap-in birdie and made a jump three shots ahead of Johnson.
He kept Johnson at bay on the remaining holes after the Davis Park assistant failed to make a move on the par-3 No. 14. Johnson and Finau birdied 16 and Finau closed the door with a 3-foot birdie on the par-3 17th to go 20-under par.
A trio of Australians made the longest trek ever to compete in the Provo Open. Anthony Brunero finished best with 70-72-71 for a 3-under par finish, while Tim Frazer was 4-over par and Sam Burrell failed to make the cut for Sunday's final. The three professionals will begin the Dakota Tour in Minneapolis next week.
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