CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Quick now, can you name the only golfer in the world who has finished in the top 10 of all three of golf’s majors this year?
No it’s not Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson or newly crowned Open Championship winner Francesco Molinari.
If you answered Tony Finau, give yourself a big pat on the back.
Yep, the kid who grew up hitting golf balls off a piece of carpet into a nylon net in his garage in Rose Park stands alone with that distinction after finishing in a tie for ninth at the Open Championship Sunday at Carnoustie Golf Links.
“It’s pretty cool to have accomplished that,” he said after his Sunday round of 71.
Earlier this year, the 28-year-old Utah native tied for 10th at the Masters and finished in fifth place at the U.S. Open. Before this week, only Reed, Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson joined Finau with top-10 finishes in majors. This week, Reed tied for 28th, Stenson tied for 35th and Johnson didn’t even make the cut.
So Tony stands alone.
Of course he doesn’t have a major title yet, but no one has been more consistent in golf’s majors in 2018. He started off the Masters with a 68, in second place after the first round, and he was the third-round co-leader at the U.S. Open. At Carnoustie, Finau was around the lead from the first day when he posted a 67 and was tied for second. He ended up just four shots behind Italian Molinari in what turned out to be one of the most exciting final days in a major championship.
It featured most of golf’s top players, including Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose, who tied for second, and Tiger Woods, who led for a brief time Sunday before finishing in a tie for sixth place, three shots behind. Spieth started the day in a tie for first, but faltered and ended up tied with Finau and Matt Kuchar for ninth. At one point late in the round, six players were tied for the lead.
When he talked about his round Sunday, Finau had his eyes glued to a nearby TV monitor in the interview room (“I’m a big fan of the sport”) and said he was happy, despite coming up short with three straight 71s after his opening 67.
“I’m extremely pleased to post another top 10 in a major championship this year, and that continues to give me confidence in my game,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I had my best stuff this weekend. My putter felt a little off — I don’t know what it was — it wasn’t quite there this weekend. But I’m happy to shoot par and sneak into the top 10.”
Finau said finishing in the top 10 “was a goal of mine this week” and “it tells me my game is good enough to compete in any of the four majors.”
He had started the day in a tie for 13th place, five shots off the lead, and was looking forward to gaining some advantage with the blustery winds that finally hit Carnoustie Sunday after three relatively calm days. He said he likes playing in wind and felt par would be a good score. It was for him as he ended up making 16 of them Sunday with a lone bogey at No. 8 and his only birdie at No. 14.6 comments on this story
“It was tough out there today,” he said. “I was happy with the way I struck it today and it took a lot of pressure off my putter Even though I didn’t hit it close, I had a lot of easy pars out there today.”
Next up for Finau is the Canadian Open in Toronto this week. He was headed to the airport after his round to catch a charter flight with fellow pros heading to that event. Then he will play in the Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio before teeing it up in the last major of the season, the PGA Championship at Bellerive CC in St. Louis.
Don’t be surprised if Finau makes it four-for-four with another major top-10 finish three weeks from now.