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Utah's Finau ties for 3rd at PGA Tour's Qualifying Tournament

Utah's Tony Finau finished in a tie for third at the PGA Tour's Qualifying Tournament Tuesday at the PGA West Course in La Quinta, Calif.

The 24-year-old Finau fired a 4-under-par 68 to finish the six-day, 108-hole tournament at 407, six shots behind winner Zack Fischer of Texarkana, Texas. Finau earned $15,000, while winner Fischer took home $25,000.

In former years, such a high finish would give Finau a spot on the PGA Tour for the following year. However, the PGA changed the format last year by awarding 25 extra spots from the regular season and all spots from its "Q School" spots qualify for the Tour.

The players are ranked in order of their finishes this past week, so by finishing third, Finau will be assured of a position on the Tour through most of the upcoming season.

Among other local golfers, Ogden's Zac Blair, one of three amateurs in the 152-player field, finished in a tie for 85th place at 426, while Farmington's Clay Ogden came in at 436, in a tie for 129th place.

Both players earned membership on the Tour by making the finals, but only have "conditional: status and aren't guaranteed spots every week. Only the top 45 and ties are guaranteed positions for the first eight tournaments of the season, while the top 10 are exempt through the first 12 tournaments. The priority rankings will be reshuffled three times during the year.

Blair, who finished his collegiate career at BYU last spring, could opt to keep his amateur status before committing to the tour.

Scott Pinckney, who was born in Provo before attending Arizona State, led the tournament after five rounds, but was surpassed by Fischer and finished second overall, two strokes behind Fischer, who birdied the final two holes.

Finau, who won the 2006 Utah State Amateur and lives in Lehi now, was very consistent all week, with every round in the 60s. He made just five bogeys and one double bogey to go along with 30 birdies and an eagle.

Finau played for West High School and turned professional at age 17. He has played in various professional events over the years and this past year, he played on the Canadian Tour, where he was 29th on the money list.

The first tournament will be Feb. 3-9 at the Panama Claro Championship. The annual Utah Championship on the Tour has been played in July in recent years and the entire schedule should be released before the end of the year.


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