PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — It was an unfamiliar feeling for Tony Finau as he finished his second round at the U.S. Open Friday at Pebble Beach Links.
After making the cut in eight straight major tournaments over the past three years, Finau would have to find something else to do on the weekend. When asked what his plans were, he was caught off guard before saying he might stick around the area and practice.
Finau has had a remarkable record in major championships since playing in his first — the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in Washington. That year he contended through the weekend before finishing in a tie for 14th place. Later that year he tied for 10th at the PGA.
In 2016, he missed the cut at the U.S. Open and PGA and tied for 18th at his first Open Championship at Royal Troon. In 2017, he made the cut at both the Open and the PGA.
Since then, he’s been terrific in majors, with three straight top-10 finishes at the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open before a tie for 42nd at the PGA, and this year he tied for fifth at the Masters before struggling in his final round at the PGA.
“It wasn’t my week. I didn’t make many birdies,” he said. “Usually I get on runs and I needed to get one going and get on a run, but wasn’t able to do it this week. Unfortunately I’m going home early.”
Finau had put himself in a bit of a hole with a 3-over 74 in the first round and he figured he needed to shoot at least 1-under on Friday to make the cut.
He started well with a birdie at his first hole, No. 10, but fell back with bogeys at 15 and 18, the latter for the second day in a row. He sank a 6-footer for birdie at No. 4, but at the short par-3 7th hole, he hit his wedge long into the rough behind the green. He couldn’t get up and down for par, meaning he needed to birdie his final two holes.
He did it at the par-4 8th when he hit his 8-iron within 10 feet and sank the putt to get to 3-over. But at the tough 526-yard par-4 9th hole, he hit his drive right, into the long grass on the cliff between the fairway and the ocean, and he couldn’t get his second shot onto the fairway. Eventually he finished with a bogey.
“I thought 2-over would have had an outside chance,” he said. “I knew I had to make a good drive on 9 and try to make birdie. Then I blocked my tee shot and knew when it was in the air, my chances of making the cut were pretty slim.”
Finau said overall his game feels good, although there are some things he must work on.
He committed to a “claw” style of putting last month and he’s been happy with the results.
“The big key this last month has been my putting,” he said. “My putter felt good this week.”2 comments on this story
Finau will play at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut next week and will take the following week off to be in Utah during the Web.com Tour event when his Tony Finau Foundation will have a tournament in conjunction with the Web.com event. Then he’ll play in Minnesota before going to the Open Championship in Northern Ireland.
“I’m not too concerned,” he said about his play. “What I’ve learned from these events, especially a U.S. Open, is you’re not as far off as you think. A lot of the shots I thought I hit good. Unfortunately I missed greens and didn't get up and down and made bogeys.”