Tony Finau looked as if he were headed for another disappointment after getting into weekend contention at the 3M Open, but he rallied from a sluggish start Saturday to give himself a chance to win his second PGA Tour title.
And end the Puerto Rico Open curse.
“Yeah, I battled,” Finau said.
One shot back at day’s start, Finau found himself five behind late on the front nine, but he rebounded with back-to-back birdies before making the turn, posting a 69 to leave himself just two shots behind Michael Thompson.
Finau, 30, knows Sunday is all about closing after a run of so many second-place finishes since he won the Puerto Rico Open four years ago.
“I’ve been a little slow out of the box in some of my round 4’s,” Finau said. “I think if I get off to a good start, get some momentum, I’ve got the ability to put the gas on the pedal and make some birdies.”
Finau has another chance to put an end to questions about all his close calls since breaking through to win the Puerto Rico Open four years ago. He has played 158 events since that win, racking up 36 top-10 finishes, including six second-place finishes. Those runner-up finishes include a playoff loss to Webb Simpson at the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year.
He can also shake that dreaded curse. Since the Puerto Rico Open became a PGA Tour event in 2008, no winner has gone on to win another tournament. Only Michael Bradley, who won the 2009 PR Open, raised another trophy on Tour – it came two years later in Puerto Rico.
Just last week, Finau took share of the lead going into the weekend at the Memorial, but he stumbled to a 78 in the final round and finished eighth.
He’s pleased to be giving himself another chance so quickly.
“I’m definitely proud of myself on just being mentally strong and emotionally strong,” Finau said. “It was a tough finish last week, but every week is a new week. Every week you have an opportunity to prove yourself. That’s what I love about the game. Doesn’t matter how well you played the last week or how terrible you played, you have a new week to prove yourself and I’ve gotten another opportunity to try to prove myself tomorrow.”
Again, Finau is focused on getting off to a strong start Sunday.
“As long as I don’t shoot myself in the foot early, I think we’re going to have a shot tomorrow,” he said. “I’m excited to put myself in those positions. Disappointing at times when you can’t get the job done, but for me, I have to welcome it at this point and just keep fighting and hopefully the door comes down eventually.”