April 23rd, 2024

Tony Finau matches his career low and sets the target at the Houston Open

By The Associated Press on March 29, 2024.

HOUSTON (AP) – Tony Finau matched his career low on the PGA Tour with an 8-under 62 on Friday, setting a daunting target for the rest of the field as he tries to win back-to-back in the Houston Open.

Finau spent time after his opening round to work on his putting with coach Boyd Summerhays, and it paid off in a big way. He holed four putts from about 25 feet or longer, and he chipped in from 40 feet for eagle on the par-5 eighth.

Finau narrowly missed a 15-footer on his last hole at the par-3 ninth, knowing it would have been his lowest round on the PGA Tour. He was plenty satisfied with a 62, the sixth time he has posted that score, most recently in the last Houston Open.

“I hit some nice shots, but it was mostly just draining some putts from long distance,” Finau said. “I chipped in for eagle on 8. Next thing you know I’m like, “˜Wow, 8 under.’ So it’s strange how this game works, but you’re never thinking ahead too much.”

Finau won the Houston Open in November 2022 and had to wait 16 months to defend because of the tournament’s move to the spring ahead of the Masters. It was Bermuda grass in the fall, and now lush and overseeded with limited rough.

Adam Svensson of Surrey, B.C., was near the top of the leaderboard as second-round play continued. Svensson, who opened with a 66, shot an even-par 35 on the front nine.

Finau did most of his damage with the putter. He opened with a 69 on Thursday and then headed straight to the practice green with Summerhays.

“He noticed a little setup change that he mentioned that might help,” Finau said. “I’d say it definitely helped today.”

Scottie Scheffler, the world’s No. 1 player going for his third straight victory, played Memorial Park in the afternoon as the wind began to strengthen.

Of those who finished in the morning wave, Chad Ramey (66) was the only player within four shots of Finau, who was at 9-under 131.

Tom Hoge bounced back from a sluggish start with a 66 and was in the group at 3-under 137. Hoge needs to finish alone in fifth to have a mathematical chance to getting into the top 50 in the world ranking after this week. That would earn him a trip to the Masters.

U.S. Open champion Wyndham Clark has been dealing with a back issue from working out earlier in the week. He finished with a bogey for the second straight round, having to settle for a 68 that left him seven shots behind Finau.

They played in the same group, and Clark got a good view of a great round.

“We were joking because about four or five times today I had to move his coin (on the green),” Clark said. “I hit the putt, I missed and then he made. I kept tell him I was dishing him assists. With that said, he hit it amazing and then he made a lot of putts. So it was fun to watch.”

Wilson Furr, who shared the 18-hole lead with Taylor Moore, did not make a birdie in his round of 75 and fell eight shots behind Finau.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf

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