Still recovering from Masters ankle injury, Tony Finau starts strong at Zurich Classic

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Still recovering from Masters ankle injury, Tony Finau starts strong at Zurich Classic

PGA Tour

Still recovering from Masters ankle injury, Tony Finau starts strong at Zurich Classic

AVONDALE, La. – Tony Finau’s 10th-place finish at the Masters this year got plenty of attention. Making his Augusta National debut, the 28-year-old from Salt Lake City, Utah, was playing on a busted ankle he rolled while celebrating a hole-in-one during Wednesday’s Par 3 Contest.

It was crazy that Finau could even play, let alone finish near the top of the leaderboard. He later shared some really gross Instagram photos of his discolored left ankle, which didn’t look capable of supporting 200 pounds over 72 holes on severely sloped terrain.

Somehow the ankle held up, and he’s spent the past three weeks on the mend leading up to his return at this week’s Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana.

“I did a lot of rest the first week, and then this last week really got after it as far as physical therapy, rehab, things like that,” Finau said. “Really trying to strengthen it and get it to a point I can come out here and compete. The trainers back home in Utah did a great job with that. I felt like I was ready to go and today just kind of confirmed that to me.”

Finau came out hot with partner Daniel Summerhays in Round 1 of the team-format event. They shot a combined 10-under 62 Thursday morning in the best ball format and are currently T-2 with three other teams entering Friday’s alternate shot.

“I think a great remedy for something hurting is some good golf – 62 is going to make the ankle feel a lot better,” Finau said.

He estimated the ankle is around 70 percent healthy and much better than it was at the Masters, where he needed to adjust his swing because he couldn’t put a lot of weight on it. That’s a big deal for a guy who is second on Tour in driving average at 317.6 yards, but Finau pulled it off.

Despite some rust after three weeks off, he’s now right back near the top of the leaderboard and looking for his second career victory after one of the wildest Masters debuts of all time.

“I know my coach was pretty happy with some of the swings I made yesterday as far as the progress we’ve made from the Masters until today,” Finau said. “I can get on to it a little bit better and starting to trust it more. I made some nice swings today and made the right decision to come and team up with this guy and have some fun this week.”

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