Tony Finau dominates in Texas – third win in four months

Tony Finau reacts to the crowd after winning the Cadence Houston Open.

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It must be reassuring to be Tony Finau in 2022, when broadcasters’ greatest moments are almost entirely focused on the race for second place. That was the case again Sunday afternoon as Finau completed his third win of the calendar year and third of his last seven PGA Tour starts.

Finau was four strokes ahead on the field – or was it five? – of course, as he teeed off on the 72nd hole, the broadcast focused on Tyson Alexander and Ben Taylor battling for silver and a few FedEx Cup points. Those points could save their PGA Tour status in 10 months — that’s a big deal. Big Tone’s status is now a certified winner and is reaching the five-win career mark. And he does it again and again.

“I’m a scoreboard observer,” Finau said after tapping from an inch away for a final par. “To win a tournament you want to know what you have to do. It was different nerves, I’ve never been in this position where I was so far ahead. I mean, I could get used to that, it’s a nice feeling.”

Tony Finau poses for a photo after the round of 60

“Video Game Golf”: Tony Finau shoots the incredible course record of 60 on an 8,100 yard (!) long course


Kevin Cunningham

He must not think He’s been this high before, but Finau’s Houston Open win was the third time this year he’s won by at least three strokes or more, and it could have been a lot worse. Finau was actually leading by eight when he turned onto the back nine on Sunday afternoon. But eight was so big that it freaked him out a bit. “It’s an interesting way of thinking,” Finau later said. “Yeah, we don’t mess up a bit, or maybe if we take a couple of good shots we can extend that lead. You basically live in the middle. I felt like I was living in the thick of it.”

It was only after a trio of harmless bogeys on the back nine – Finau said he was growing impatient with the pace of play – did anyone start discussing that event was still in the balance. But then, without flirting with disaster, Finau plastered what was left with three ho-hum pars. When you build up a lead that big and hit it as far as he does and putt as consistently as he does? Finau is nearly impossible to catch, especially at a course like Memorial Park, which plays harder than most on the PGA Tour. He started the tournament with Thursday’s Round of the Day and then added Friday’s Round of the Day.

“Overall, it was a special week,” he said. “You know, I won this golf tournament from start to finish. I don’t know if I’ve done that in my career, maybe at Rocket Mortgage, but playing so well for four days is what it’s all about and all the hard work is starting to pay off, which is fun.”

Finau finished second in the field in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and also second in Strokes Gained: Putting. That saves a lot of time. It helped that he finished ninth in SG: Approach and hit more than 80% of the greens on practice all weekend.

“I’m starting to put together a full game package, which is really exciting for me,” Finau said. “That’s all you can do is work hard and I’ve been working extremely hard on parts of the game that I know I have to do and I think it’s starting to show.”

When Finau speaks of a “full package game”, he is not joking. In the last three years he has become above average in every aspect of the game. There is no weakness that undercuts him in the same way weaknesses undercut some of the best ball forwards in the world. So if Finau putts like he did this week, we’ll all be wondering who’s in contention for second place. In this case, Tyson Alexander was last with a birdie.