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Tony Finau Claims Win at Web.com Tour Stonebrae Classic

Tony Finau Claims Win at Web.com Tour Stonebrae Classic

August 4, 2014

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Tony Finau’s big drives will be landing on the PGA Tour.

Finau shot a 4-under 66 Sunday to win the Web.com Tour’s Stonebrae Classic in Hayward by three strokes over Argentina’s Fabian Gomez, rookie Daniel Berger and Zack Sucher.

A rookie from Utah, Finau used a combination of power and control to set a tournament record with his 22-under score of 258, which also tied the second lowest 72-hole hole score in Tour history.

More importantly for Finau though, the first-place check for $108,000 vaulted him from No.24 to No.8 on the money list. With only three events remaining in the regular season, Finau guaranteed his ticket to the PGA Tour for the 2014-2015 season.

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“I’m overwhelmed. This probably won’t sink in for a few days,” said Finau, aformer high school basketball star at West High School in Salt Lake City who had Division I scholarship offers from both Utah and Utah State but chose golf instead.“I got a little bit of goosebumps walking up the 18th fairway just thinking about how far I’ve come the past few years.”

Finau, who turned pro at the age of 17, passed his biggest test on the 315-yard 14th hole. Holding just a one stroke lead, Finau, who averaged 329 yards off the tee for the week, decided to go for it but instead yanked his tee shot into a tree about 20 from the teeing ground.

He’d quickly recover, first knocking a 6-iron into the fairway and then following that up with a wedge from 90 yards to within 7 feet of the flagstick. A putt later he still walked away with par.

“That was huge,” Finau said. “There’s no telling what could have gone through my mind if I had messed up that hole.”

A hole later on the 15th, Finau sank a 10-foot birdie putt to up his lead to two strokes.  When Gomez, playing in the group ahead, made bogey at the 17th Finau’s lead grew to three, where it would remain as the Tour’s 13th first-time winner closed with a trio of two-putt pars.

“This was fun,” Finau said. “I really enjoyed today. It definitely wasn’t easy coming down the stretch but I had a lot of fun. I was proud of how I stayed in the moment. I kept telling myself that the most important shot is the next one.”

Ash Hall, Blayne Barber and Colt Knost all finished at 18-under and tied for fifth place. Cal rookie Max Homa and Nicholas Lindheim were at 17-under and shared eighth place.

-Jerry Stewart

 

Author: Jerry Stewart

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