Facebook Twitter

Finau can’t hold lead in Big Break final

SHARE Finau can’t hold lead in Big Break final
Tony Finau lost a 3-stroke lead and fell in a playoff to lose the Big Break Disney.

Tony Finau lost a 3-stroke lead and fell in a playoff to lose the Big Break Disney.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Utah's Tony Finau failed in his bid to win Big Break Disney Golf and earn himself an exemption to a PGA Tour event next year as well as $50,000 worth of prizes.

In the final episode of the weekly series that aired Tuesday on the Golf Channel, Finau blew a late three-shot lead and lost on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to Mike Perez, a 30-year-old former Nationwide Tour golfer.

Twelve golfers began the competition, which was filmed in the summer at the Walt Disney World's Magnolia and Palm courses in Orlando, Fla. The series started on Oct. 9 and each week one of the 12 golfers was eliminated. Last week, Tony's younger brother, Gipper, was knocked out.

Finau, a 20-year-old who grew up in the Rose Park area of Salt Lake and now lives in Lehi, won the Utah State Amateur at the age of 16. He turned pro two years ago at age 18 just before graduating from West High School. He's been trying to get on the PGA Tour ever since.

Finau was 4-under par going into No. 16, three shots ahead of Perez, who birdied the hole. Then at No. 17 his shot hit a cart path and went into a lake. He hit a great recovery shot, but missed a 4-foot par putt, while Perez sank a 25-foot birdie putt.

After both players parred No. 18, Perez won with a 25-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole. Kevin Erdman, a third contestant in the finals, finished four shots behind.

Besides the exemption to next year's Children Miracle Network Classic in Orlando, Perez earned $20,000, a $10,000 endorsement from Adams Golf, entry fees for the 2010 PGA qualifying school and free golf on GolfNow.com for a year.

The final episode will re-air tonight at 6 p.m. on the Golf Channel.

e-mail: sor@desnews.com