It's not often that Utah golfers win an event in professional golf. In fact, it is pretty rare. This past weekend, Lehi resident Tony Finau, cousin of future NBA star Jabari Parker, won the Webcom Tour Stonebrae Classic.
After missing the cut at the Boise Open two weeks ago, Finau took last week off to spend time with his family and regroup. Whatever was said at the Finau house during that break worked wonders for Finau, who played his best golf all season in the Bay Area town of Hayward, California.
If Finau keeps playing like this in Hayward, he should consider moving there. He was a madman on the links this past weekend--but it took him a while to get going.
He shot a ho-hum 67 in the first round, highlighted by two double bogeys. The thing that kept him in the hunt, however, was that he shot a whopping seven birdies--five alone on the back nine.
In round two, Finau scorched the course at TPC Stonebrae, shooting a mesmerizing 62, birdieing three holes on his front nine. But, his back nine was even more impressive. He birdied five of nine holes.
After making the cut with ease in Hayward, Finau went to work in round three, again posting a monster score of 63. He birdied nine of his 18 holes. A double bogey on Hole No. 9 prevented Finau from having his best round of the tournament.
In the final round, Finau started out a bit sluggish over his first nine holes. But with others closing in on the Lehi resident, Finau found his stride over the back nine to finish with three birdies and a three stroke victory.
The win was big on two fronts. It was Finau's first-ever win on the Webcom Tour and it assured that he will participate on the PGA Tour next year. The win at the TPC Stonebrae alone catapulted Finau from 24th place to 8th place overall on the Web.com Top 25 money list. The top 25 money winners on that list are then given Q-cards to participate for one year on the PGA Tour.
“It’s going to be huge to get some starts on the PGA Tour next year and that’s obviously where I’ve been aiming at since I turned professional,’’ Finau said in an interview with the Deseret News. “I’m looking forward to the next challenge. I’ve been close to the lead this year and to come through this week, I just can’t put into words what it’s going to do for my confidence going forward."
Finau is just keeping it in the family when it comes to starting your professional career early. He turned pro at 17, his brother Gipper went for it early and so did their cousin Jabari Parker, the No. 2 draft pick of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks at the tender age of 19.