Tony Finau walked off the 18th green the same way he started his third round at Augusta National. Cool, calm and collected. Nothing seems to phase Finau, even though he is playing on golf’s most prestigious stage. On a wild Saturday at The Masters, Finau would propel his way up the leaderboard with a third round 64. Along with Webb Simpson and Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau’s 64 would etch their performances into Masters history. The first time in the 83 year history of the tournament where three golfers shot a 64 on the same day.
“The conditions were perfect today,” said Finau. “These golfers are really good. The golf course hasn’t changed over the last couple days so we know the targets to hit when driving off the tee and hitting into the green.”
Finau Looking for Better Outcome After Injury-Plagued 2018 Masters
One year ago, Tony Finau participated in the annual Masters Par-3 Contest, the Wednesday before tournament action. Finau would achieve what many golfers yearn to conquer in their lifetimes; to get a hole-in-one. But what would transpire for the 29-year-old was less than ideal. While celebrating his ace, Finau rolled his ankle, seriously injuring it. After he underwent tests, it had revealed that he had torn ligaments, but no evidence of structural damage.
Despite the adversity of playing golf with a limited ankle, Finau never withdrew from last year’s Masters. He would end up finishing tied for 10th, firing a final round 66, where he would birdie six consecutive holes from 12 to 17. Even though he was visibly hobbling, the tranquility of his persona remained constant. As he teed it up this week at Augusta, Finau “April Fooled” the golfing world into a frenzy where he showcased the shoes he would “wear” to protect his ankle. Joking aside, no one is laughing at the way Finau is performing this week at the Masters. Deep beneath the stoic facade is a fierce competitor, who can sustain successful play when he is on a hot streak.
Tony Finau wasn't taking any chances on Wednesday at Augusta National. 😂https://t.co/q2J6zlTWzK
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) April 10, 2019
“It was actually a great feeling to stand on the first tee Thursday feeling healthy,” Finau said. “This is a golf course I like, and I feel like I can play well. Last year, even though it kind of took the pressure off me, it was awkward playing hurt that way. This year, there was none of that.”
Tony Finau Relying on Previous Major Championship Experience to Prepare for Masters Final Round
Tony Finau epitomized what Moving Day means at Augusta National. An opportunity to set you up on the precipice of attaining illustrious golf history. Finau would tie a Masters record, shooting 30 on the front 9. This included an eagle on the par-5 8th, which propelled him to the top of the leaderboard.
“I didn’t hear a lot of roars,” said Finau. “I saw Rickie Fowler coming down 9 and he gave me a thumbs up, saying “You could’ve made it.” It was nice to make a 3 there on 8, setting myself up for success the rest of the round.”
While he only got two birdies on the back 9 on the two par-5’s, Finau’s steady driving accuracy and ball striking propelled him to the final group on Sunday. Hitting 15 of 18 Greens in Regulation (83 percent) and 12 of 14 Fairways Hit (86 percent), Tony Finau was in a laser-focused zone all the way to the Augusta National clubhouse.
On an early Sunday final round start, Tony Finau will be paired with 18-time major winner Tiger Woods and the 2018 Open Champion Francesco Molinari, currently possessing a two-shot lead. For Finau, this is not the first time he will be in the final group of a major championship. At the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, Finau experienced the pressure and expectation of being the last one out on Sunday. Shooting a final round 72 would put him into fifth place, but the knowledge he gained will prepare him for tomorrow, as he embarks on trying to win his first Masters.
“Having that experience under my belt at Shinnecock will most definitely help me tomorrow,” affirmed Finau.
The roars are going to perpetuate throughout Augusta as Tiger attempts to chase his 15th major. But for Tony Finau, remaining in his calm frame of mind will suit him well, looking to attack an Augusta National course that suits his game impeccably.