I feel pretty good, especially what I’ve been through the past 48 hours with my body and my ankle. Emotionally it’s been a roller coaster for me. I’m going to be in the hunt going into the weekend and I’m excited about that at a major championship. —Tony Finau
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Tony Finau said his injured ankle felt much better than a day earlier but, unfortunately for him, that didn’t translate into a better score as the 28-year-old Utahn shot six shots worse in his second Masters round Friday at Augusta National Golf Club.
The 28-year-old Salt Lake native shot a 2-over par 74, which put him in a tie for eighth place at 142 following his 4-under 68 the previous day. He still isn't too far from the leaders, trailing Patrick Reed (9-under) by seven and Marc Leishman (7-under) by five.
Finau was one of the main stories at Thursday’s opening round when he shot a 4-under-par 68, good for a tie for second place, a day after he had badly injured his left ankle while celebrating a hole-in-one at the Par-3 Contest on Wednesday.
He said his ankle “felt a lot better” than it did Thursday and added, "We're trending in the right direction." He hit more greens than the day before, but his putting wasn't as good as he took 32 putts Friday after needing just 23 the day before.
"I didn’t make as many putts," he said. "Man it’s tricky, the pins were tough they really were, with subtle breaks with the speed and the wind. It’s not like I didn’t feel I putted as well, they just didn’t fall today. I'm still pretty confident with the putter in my hand and hopefully I’ll have more fall for me on the weekend."
Finau will tee off Saturday at noon MT with reigning PGA champion Justin Thomas.
On Friday it took until the final hole before Finau was finally able to make a birdie after a lot of pars and a few bogeys.
Finau started with a bogey at No. 1 for the second straight day and also bogeyed the par-3 No. 6 to make the turn at 2-over after missing birdie putts inside 5 feet at holes 8 and 9.
On the back nine, he bogeyed No. 11 when his third shot went past the pin 15 feet and he couldn't make the putt coming back. From there he made six straight pars before hitting a gap wedge within four feet at No. 18 and sinking the putt.
"Pitching a shutout today wouldn’t have been a good follow after yesterday," he said. "I hit three perfect shots, driver, gap wedge to 4 feet and I rolled the putt in. To finish that way I was excited about that. I was at least able to get one back."
While Finau is seven shots behind Reed, he’s still in contention with a host of big-name players, including major winners Henrik Stenson (5-under), Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth (4-under), Dustin Johnson and Thomas (3-under), and Bubba Watson, Justin Rose and Louis Oosthuizen (2-under).
“I feel pretty good, especially what I’ve been through the past 48 hours with my body and my ankle,” Finau said. “Emotionally it’s been a roller coaster for me. I’m going to be in the hunt going into the weekend and I’m excited about that at a major championship.”