It wasn’t a great opening day for the two native-born Utahns playing Thursday at the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.
Lehi’s Tony Finau, the only golfer in the world to finish in the top 10 at each of golf’s majors this year, finished with a 4-over-par 74 Thursday morning, which put him well off the lead, 10 shots behind leader Gary Woodland in a tie for 120th place.
Meanwhile, Zach Johnson, who grew up in Salt Lake and attended Cottonwood High School and Southern Utah University, shot a 76 and stands in a tie for 144th place. Johnson, who qualified at the PGA Professional Tournament in June, is an assistant pro at Davis Park Golf Course.
Both Finau and Johnson will need to rally in Friday’s second round to have a chance to make the 36-hole cut for the weekend.
The other golfer with Utah ties, Glenwild GC teaching pro Craig Hocknull, fared a little better with a 2-over 72, which put him in a tie for 83rd place.
At both the Masters and British Open, Finau ended the first day in a tie for second place after rounds of 68 and 67, respectively. At the U.S. Open, where he eventually finished fifth, he shot an opening-round 75, which wasn’t bad as only four players broke par and he stood in a tie for 46th place.
But a 74 on a day when 47 players broke par, puts him in danger of missing the cut for the first time in a major since the 2016 PGA. He’ll need to shoot in the 60s Friday when he tees off at 11:42 a.m. MT.
In Thursday’s round, playing the back nine first, Finau bogeyed the No. 10 hole, then made a double bogey at No. 12 followed by bogeys at 15 and 17 to make the turn at 5-over 40. He rallied on his second nine with birdies at 1, 3, 5 and 8, but made another double bogey at No. 4 and a bogey at No. 6 for a 34.Comment on this story
Like Finau, Johnson got off to a poor start on the back nine with a bogey at 10 and a double bogey at 11 where his second shot hit the water. He added bogeys at 14 and 15 to fall to 5-over for the round. Then he settled down with five straight pars followed by a birdie-2 at No. 3, where he rolled in a 15-foot putt. However, he bogeyed the next hole and had one more coming in. Johnson tees off at 7:40 a.m. MT Friday
Hocknull got off to a good start, playing the front nine in 1-under par, but made three bogeys on the back side to finish at 2-over. He tees off at 11:26 a.m. MT Friday.