It feels like Tony Finau is making progress. You know what I’m talking about.
It’s beating a dead horse to remind you he hasn’t won since the 2016 Puerto Rico Open for what’s still his only victory. The Puerto Rico Open Curse that’s seen no past champions win another tournament is alive and well.
But the secret is getting out that he’s at least making headway on Sundays.
First off, Finau’s getting in contention like he always has over the last half dozen years. Since the June restart, Finau’s piled up four top-10s. The first one saw him finish solo eighth at the Memorial Tournament after taking the 36-hole lead. Weekend scores of 73-78 were not good, even in tough conditions.
Since then, though, he at least hasn’t given the tournament away in the final round. Finau shot 68 on Sunday to finish T-3rd at the 3M Open. A 66 led to T-4th at the PGA Championship. While playing from well behind on Sunday at the BMW, he fired a 65 to nearly post early and win on the way to solo fifth.
Finau is a steady enough player that those rounds of 78 are extremely outliers. He rarely mails it in and bad days are usually 71s, 72s, 73s. Those scores can win U.S. Opens. Especially if Winged Foot lives up to the hype.
The Utahan is known for hitting the long ball, and rightfully so. He ranked 13th on the PGA Tour in 2019-2020 in driving distance (309.8), though he can carry it as far as anyone with spectacular club head speed (122.05 miles per hour, 7th).
What gets lost is his short game. Finau’s got good hands and can afford to play his bomb and gouge style with apt recovery skills. The 31 year old ranked 30th in strokes gained around the green (.266 per round). What caught my eye was that he was 18th in scrambling from inside 10 yards (90.24%).
It’s brutally tough to hit greens at U.S. Opens, but the thick rough is going to keep errant shots from cascading too far from the hole. A mastery of those delicate chip shots on fast greens is crucial.
Some other stats on his side include his iron play. He’s 21st in SG approach (.497) and 15th in proximity from the rough (40’6”).
It all comes down to making putts. Finau is a modest 69th in SG putting (.14) but is shaky on those four- to eight-footers (68.42%, 90th).
I don’t blame you if you don’t trust him to win. I urge you to at least give Finau a shot on your DFS team.