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Tony Finau Continues Growth Following Another Agonizing Defeat

Max Homa of the United States shakes hands with Tony Finau of the United States after defeating him in a playoff on the 14th green during the final round of The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club on February 21, 2021 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Tony Finau’s winless ways on the PGA Tour continue after yet another heartbreaking loss at Riviera Country Club over the weekend.

Broken Heart

Finau and Max Homa went to a sudden-death playoff after four rounds late Sunday afternoon. Finau fans around the world were rejoicing shortly after Homa put his tee shot on the first playoff hole next to a tree. Finau looked to have secured the victory.

But alas, a spectacular shot from Homa put him in a position to make birdie while Finau chipped onto the green but left himself with a seven-foot putt that involved two feet of break.

They would both miss, tap in for par’s and move onto the next playoff hole.

Finau found the bunker. Homa stuck it tight on the challenging par 3, 14th hole. The rest is history, Homa would eventually defeat Finau with a par.

For Finau, the loss brought emotions that have become far too common. Since the 2016-17 PGA Tour season, this was Finau’s 37th top 10 finish, 21st top 5, and 8th event where he has finished as the runner-up.

Only five other golfers have more top 10, 5, and runner-up finishes in that time. The difference, however, those five other golfers have anywhere between 4 and 12 victories during that stretch as well.

“It’s bittersweet to be in this position again, but I never get tired of playing good golf and that’s what I tell myself every week,” Finau said immediately following yet another defeat.

“Sports is about winning; I’ve said that many times. I grew up trying to win every tournament I play, every tournament I play, nothing’s changed. But I know at the end of the day you’re going to lose a lot more times than you’re going to win on the PGA TOUR.

“I’m not a quitter, I’m not someone that’s going to fade away into the sunset because I can’t win in these situations. I had another great shot today. I don’t know what else I can say other than I enjoy playing good golf and one of these days it will happen for me and hopefully turn into kind of a domino effect.

Experience Will Prevail

Through all of the trauma, though, Finau continues to develop and progress as a golfer. As was exemplified during the final round when he shot a field-best seven-under-par. Finau has become more aggressive during the latter stages of golf tournaments lately. Earlier in his career, many pundits criticized Finau for his inability to play with freedom late in tournaments, that is not the case anymore.

“Anytime I’ve had a chance to win, I haven’t been the guy that went low and today I was, so I can take a lot of confidence from that,” Finau said following his defeat on Sunday. “That’s something that I wanted to happen today to just prove to myself on Sundays that I can put myself in the thick of it and shoot a number. At the end of the day I’m going to be able to look back on that and have a lot of positives to take from it.”

Finau’s time will come. He will win his second PGA Tournament and when he does an avalanche of emotion will pour. It will be special for many reasons, but none more so than the simple fact that he has come so close for so long without tasting victory.

This week Finau is expected to be in the field for the upcoming WGC Championship in Mexico. Tee times will become available over the upcoming days.




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