At the British Open, Tony Finau Shuts Out a Sense of Frustration
Tony Finau shot a four-under-66 on Friday at the British Open and found himself in familiar territory. He was once again a contender for a major championship golf course and knew people would wonder if this would end in another missed result.
The biggest prizes in sport are the four majors, and Finau, over the past three years, has come close to winning all of them: he took third place at the 2019 British Open, tied for fourth at the PGA Championship of last year, tied for fifth while playing with Tiger Woods when he won the 2019 Masters and finished fifth at the 2018 US Open.
In total, Finau, 31, has finished in the top 10 on 10 occasions. The lack of victory, however, did not tarnish Finau’s disposition in the least.
One of the few colored golfers on the PGA Tour – Finau, who grew up in Utah, is of Tongan and Samoan descent – he’s a popular presence at tournaments with fans and in player locker rooms.
Tall and athletic with an easy smile, Finau exploded prodigious commands that wowed crowds for years before Bryson DeChambeau set an implausible new standard for driving distance.
Finau’s golf prowess is more than power, however, as he showed with skillful throws and imaginative iron play on Friday, which led to six birdies and a four-under-par in two rounds. which propelled him to the top of the rankings. He was tied for 17th place, seven strokes behind leader Louis Oosthuizen.
While the weather will be fickle on the coast of Royal St. George’s in southern England, Finau has the experience, and apparently the game, to stay on the hunt. He finished tied for ninth at the 2018 British Open and for 18th at the event five years ago.
“I love links golf,” said Finau, the 17th largest male golfer in the world, after Friday’s round. “I wish I could play it more often. It takes so much creativity. “
But Finau is fully aware that golf fans and media will judge him by how many times he hasn’t claimed first place in a major tournament. He has a victory on the PGA Tour, the Puerto Rico Open in 2016.
Finau’s perspective on these results is different from most. He remembers 14 years as a golf professional, half of which he considers an ordeal, the other half a gratifying achievement.
Raised on municipal golf courses, Finau turned down college basketball scholarships to become a golf pro at the age of 17. Seven years later, he finally secured a spot on the PGA Tour. This spring, after finishing second at the Genesis Invitational and tied for second at the Farmers Insurance Open, Finau was asked if these results were among the most difficult he has endured.
He shook his head.
“I spent seven years playing mini-round golf, I know what it feels like when you don’t even have a place to play and you don’t make any money,” he said. declared. “Taking second place on the PGA Tour is tough, but not when you compare it to what life is really like outside of the PGA Tour.”
Finau added: “People make a big deal that I don’t win. People want me to win and expect me to win, and that’s great. That’s life and it made me harder. I want to win too. But in order to do that, I have to keep putting my name near the top, shutting out the noise, and playing the best I can every time I’m there.
He planned to approach the finals of the Open in the same way this weekend.
“I still consider my life and my game to be a glass half full,” said Finau, his attitude undoubtedly reinforced by the more than $ 23 million he has earned as a professional golfer. “I feel like I’m getting more and more used to being in the spotlight and playing well in these situations on a regular basis. Life is a great teacher.
“I’ve had a lot of tight calls in major championships. To finally be able to finish one and make it as the Open Championship Golf Champion of the Year would be extremely special. “
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