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Tony Finau Caught Fire During First Round Of The American Express

Tony Finau plays his shot from the eighth tee during the first round of The American Express tournament on the Stadium course at PGA West on January 21, 2021 in La Quinta, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, UtahΒ – Tony Finau strung six consecutive birdies together to help catapult his name up the leaderboard following the first round of The American Express.

He enters the second round in a tie for seventh after a four-under-par round of 68.

“The par 3’s are real tough,” Tony said immediately following the conclusion of his round. “The wind started to pick up on the back nine, just enough to make you think down the stretch. You have got to hit quality shots if you want to make birdies down the stretch, so, even though I was one-over on our last few it wasn’t a bad finish.”

Finau’s round began with five consecutive pars before his first bogey fell on the par 3 sixth hole following a tee shot that found the water.

However, six consecutive birdies dropped for Finau between holes 7 and 12, he caught a heater and was making everything. Throughout the stretch, Finau was peppering the flag despite missing multiple fairways. On the par 5 eighth hole, Finau missed the fairway wide right but recovered with a beautiful approach that left him with a 12 foot chance at eagle.

Then, Finau found a fairway bunker on the 10th hole to leave him with 170 yards to the pin. He stuck his approach out of the sand to four feet.

On the par five, 16th, after finding the fairway off the tee, Finau’s second shot rattled the cart path up the right side of the hole. A beautiful use of his hands on the third shot left him with 10 feet for birdie, he would finish the hole with par.

The seventeenth hole played as the hardest hole on the course with players struggling to fight the winds as they attempted to control the ball onto an island green. Multiple players found the water and more players found the rocks that surrounded the green. Finau hit his shot short, but safe and would continue to make par.

Finau concluded his round in disappointing fashion after a three-putt bogey on 18 left the Utah native with a sour taste in his mouth entering Friday.

Finau found the fairway on 90 percent of his shots off the tee, while also being able to make the green in regulation 78 percent of the time. Unfortunately, Finau’s putter let him down as he succumbed to 1.7 putts per green which ranks him 66th in comparison to the rest of the field.

Finau played alongside Kevin Na and Mathew Wolff on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Tomorrow, the threesome will take on the Nicklaus Course with their tee time scheduled for 10:40 a.m.

The American Express Leaderboard

  1. Brandon Hagy -8
  2. Byeong Hun An -7
  3. Si Woo Kim -6
  4. Martin Laird -6
  5. Max Homa -6
  6. Roger Sloan -6