British Open: Tony Finau fights through tough conditions to finish third

Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

British Open: Tony Finau fights through tough conditions to finish third

2019 British Open

British Open: Tony Finau fights through tough conditions to finish third

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PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland – Judging from his play in major championships, it’s hard to believe Tony Finau has won just one PGA Tour title.

In the last eight majors, the big-hitting Finau with a giant golf bag full of talent has posted five top-10s, including his solo third in the 148th British Open and a tie for fifth at this year’s Masters.

On Sunday at dreary Royal Portrush, Finau took one more positive step forward in his pursuit of a second Tour title and his first major. With winds whipping and rain falling by the North Atlantic Sea, Finau was the only player in the last 10 two-ball groups to match par. While others fell mightily down the scoreboard – Henrik Stenson shot 76 and snapped his 6-iron in half over his knee, Jordan Spieth shot 77, Justin Rose and Matt Kuchar each shot 79, and J.B. Holmes carded an 87 – Finau weathered the storms.

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MORE: When will The Open return to Portrush?

While he knew he couldn’t win as Shane Lowry was clearly the best this week en route to winning the Claret Jug, Finau dug in and dug out a 71.

“I was just happy with the way I hung in there,” said Finau, who finished at 7 under for the tournament and rose to No. 12 in the world. “I knew winning the championship was out of my grasp, but I wanted to post as good of a number as I could. Then just keep fighting until the end, and I was able to do that.

“Really proud of the way I played this week. I continue to just prove to myself one day I can win one of these, no doubt.”

Especially in the tough conditions. Finau said it was probably the fourth worst day, condition wise, he’s played golf in.

“I have played in tougher conditions, but I haven’t played better than I did today in those conditions,” Finau said. “That 30 minutes that it rained was extremely difficult. We were on 11, teeing off on 12. Then after the rain stopped the wind picked up. So, you were playing all those holes from 13 to 15, you play downwind. You turn and 16 to 18 are straight into the wind and at 30 miles an hour. It played extremely tough.

“I wasn’t trying to make birdies, and I think that’s the thing when you’re playing in wind. Par is a great score when you know you’re playing a golf course like this.

“I wasn’t trying to hit hero shots. I was hitting the shots I know I can play. And mentally you’ve got to be tough.”

He certainly was.

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