AUGUSTA, Ga. – After flirting with a few of the notable course records during the third round of the Masters, Tony Finau now finds himself on the brink of the biggest opportunity of his career.
Finau tied a tournament record with his 6-under 30 on the first nine, and after shooting a 64 he moved from off the leaderboard into a tie for second, two shots behind Francesco Molinari. Finau played in the final pairing at last year’s U.S. Open, where he finished fifth, but this time around he’s got a certain 14-time major champion rounding out the anchor trio.
“I’ve dreamed of playing in the final group with [Tiger Woods] in a major championship, and it would be quite a cool thing for me if I were to play with him tomorrow in the final group of the Masters,” said Finau, who is tied for second with Woods at 11 under. “It would be a dream come true for me.”
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Finau only has one career PGA Tour victory to his credit, that coming at the opposite-field Puerto Rico Open back in 2016. But he’s been a stalwart on leaderboards of all size and scale over the last two years, racking up three top-10s in majors while earning a spot on his first U.S. Ryder Cup team last fall.
Finau raced up the leaderboard Saturday with four birdies over his first six holes followed by a near-albatross on No. 8, explaining that he was “in the zone” while at one point building a two-shot lead.
One year after creating headlines in his Masters debut when he his dislocated ankle during the Par-3 Contest, Finau is hopeful to make his sophomore appearance even more memorable for all the right reasons, as he looks to snag a breakthrough victory while staring down Woods, who he described as his “golfing idol.”
“It’s always a great tournament whenever Tiger is in the mix, and he’s 100 percent in the mix right now,” Finau said. “So it is going to be a Masters to remember, that’s for sure.”