GOLF

Tony Finau Enters U.S. Open With High Expectations, Good Form

Jun 15, 2022, 11:55 AM
Tony Finau of the United States hits a putt on the 15th green during the second round of the 2019 U...
Tony Finau of the United States hits a putt on the 15th green during the second round of the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 14, 2019 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s Tony Finau will enter this week’s U.S. Open with high expectations following his most recent form and major tournament history.

Last week, Finau manipulated the golf ball from 40-feet to find the center of the cup with the appropriate speed on the 18th hole to make a birdie and take home lone second place at the RBC Canadian Open. He finished just one shot behind Rory Mcllroy who successfully defended his 2019 Canadian Open Championship, becoming the first player since 1951 to do so.

Furthermore, Finau has a superb record at major tournaments. Over his 24 starts at majors, Finau has only missed the cut on 4 occasions. His most recent missed cut occurred at last year’s U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Three of the four missed cuts in Finau’s career have occurred at U.S. Open. However, when Finau does find a way to play on the weekend, his worst U.S. Open finish is a tie for 14th which occurred in 2015.

Finau concluded 2018 at Shinnecock Hills in fifth before sharing a tie for eighth in 2020 at Winged Foot Golf Club.

The Country Club Explained

This week will be another brutal test, as so many of the U.S. Opens of the past have been.

The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, has hosted three previous U.S. Opens with the first occurring in 1913 when amateur Francis Ouimet walked from his house across the street to come back from six shots following the conclusion of the opening round to win in a playoff.

The Country Club has seen over 20 golf architects have a say in the design and layout of the course with Gil Hanse being the most recent man in charge of restoration.

It is a golf course that requires golfers to show discipline and patience. A large array of irons will be hit off tee boxes, while small and undulated greens strike fear into those who dare to attack them.

More often than not, players will be forced to hit away from pin placements in an effort to give them the best scoring opportunity. Only Pebble Beach boasts smaller greens on a Championship course in the United States.

The rough is long and thick forcing players to ensure shots stay inside the fairway boundaries. Fairway and greenside bunkers line the golf course while glacial rock formations are shaped throughout the entire walk.

It is a golf course that does also have the potential to endure torturous conditions as wind circulates around Massachusetts Bay located some 10 miles east of the golf course. In 1963, Julius Boros overcame Jacky Cupit and Arnold Palmer in a playoff with a winning score of nine over-par after wind wreaked havoc on the field.

Interestingly, the three previous U.S. Opens held at The Country Club have all resulted in playoffs to determine the eventual champion.

Finau By The Numbers

Finau’s 2022 numbers suggest that he will need to work on his driving accuracy and putting if he intends on contending this week. He ranks 144th on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy and 124th in putts per round. However, Finau is one of the premium scramblers on the tour as he manages to find the green in regulation on 68.25% of the time, good enough for 28th best on the PGA Tour.

Tee Times & Pairings

Finau will play the opening two rounds at The Country Club alongside Justin Thomas and Viktor Hovland. The trio will tee off the first tee at 11:14 a.m. on Thursday and are one of four featured groups.

Other featured groups include Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott and Max Homa. Rory Mcllroy, Hideki Matsuyama and Xander Schauffele. Brooks Koepka, Cameron Smith and Scottie Scheffler.

Tiger Woods will not be in attendance this week after pulling out a few weeks ago citing that his injured leg is not yet ready to compete at major tournaments. Woods is eyeing The Open Championship at St. Andrews in July to return to the world golfing stage.

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