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Tony Finau Returns To Utah Ahead Of U.S. Open

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – From humble beginnings, Utah native Tony Finau has risen to the highest level of professional golf.

The 29-year old, who grew up in the tough neighborhood of Rose Park in Salt Lake City, has ascended the world golf rankings to become the 14th best player in the world. It’s quite the accomplishment for Finau, considering how different his upbringing was compared to the country club lifestyle that a lot of his professional peers have always known.

To go from living in a lesser-income part of SLC, to playing in a group with all-time great Tiger Woods as he won the Masters in April, it’s been an incredible journey for Finau.

This weekend, Finau will tee off in another major, the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, and be looking to make waves again and hopefully secure his second win on the PGA Tour and his first victory in a major tournament.

Before leaving for California, Finau stopped by his home state and spoke to KSL Sports’ Jeremiah Jensen on life in the spotlight and his experience in the PGA Tour.

In April, the ultra-popular Woods was the center of attention in the global sports world when he won his first major in over a decade. It was a great scene of redemption as the embattled Woods celebrated sinking the winning putt on the 18th green at Augusta. The first person to congratulate Woods was Finau, who was paired up with Tiger in the final group.

To Finau, it was a cool moment to be there for Woods’ memorable moment, but the competitor in him still wished it he was the one putting on the green jacket instead of Tiger.

“I think I look at it a little different than most guys when I think of the Masters. I thought I had a great chance to win, that’s how I look at it. But outside of that it was very special to be able to play alongside Tiger and watch him make history,” said Finau.

Finau was back in the state to accept a check for $40,000 on behalf of his foundation, the Tony Finau Foundation, which works to empower underprivileged youth and families to experience the growth found in the game of golf, as well as provide educational opportunities.

The donation was made possible through the Utah Sports Commission and the Utah Championship, a Web.com Tour tournament held in the state. Finau is grateful for the opportunity to give back to the local community.

“It’s a huge part and it’s a huge part of who I am. I feel like I’ve come from humble beginnings, it would be very selfish of me to gain some of the accolades that I have and not give back. I feel very strongly about that, about my community, I’ve grown up in Rose Park as well as just everywhere here in Utah,” said Finau. “I feel like through the game of golf, I’ve learned a lot of great things and I’ve met a lot of great people. The game has so much to offer and I would have never known that if I wasn’t involved in the game. To be able to give back now through this Utah Championship alongside with the Utah Sports Commission, it’s something that’s very cool for our foundation.”

So far into his young career, Finau has managed to take home one victory on Tour, although he has top-10 finishes in multiple majors. The next chance to win his second tournament will come this weekend in Pebble Beach. Finau is eager to reach the point in his game where he’s a consistent winner, but for now he’s working on his patience.

“It’s extremely tough to be patient and I’m at a time now for me where I’m chasing that next victory. I’m chasing that second win on Tour and after the second, I’ll be chasing that third and that fourth. I’ve learned that a lot of people are quoted, it’s all about the journey,” said Finau.