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Finau, Summerhays finish strong in final round of U.S. Open

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. — If he could have just avoided the No. 6 hole at Chambers Bay Golf Course during his four rounds, Tony Finau might have been hoisting the U.S. Open trophy Sunday evening or perhaps preparing for a playoff.

Finau played the par-4 No. 6 hole in 7-over par with three double bogeys, including one on Sunday, while playing the rest of the course in 5-under par, which is where winner Jordan Spieth finished with his 275 total.

As it was the Salt Lake native finished in a tie for 14th place with a 2-over-par 282 total, an excellent showing for his first U.S. Open, and one that he was happy with overall.

“Looking back on my week, it was a great week for me moving forward in my career,’’ Finau said. “I hit it really good today and had an opportunity on nearly every hole to make a birdie, but just couldn’t make any putts. I hit it really nicely — but just couldn’t convert on the greens.’’

Finau wishes he could have saved some of his putts from a day before or borrowed some of his fellow Utahn Daniel Summerhays’ putts Sunday. Summerhays recovered nicely from his 78 Saturday to post five birdies on his back nine for an even-par 70. That left Summerhays in a respectable tie for 27th place at 285.

“I made five birdies on the back nine and that was fun to see the putts go in today,’’ said Summerhays. “I gave my farewell to Chambers Bay today.’’

Summerhays might have been a little sarcastic after he had complained a day earlier about the greens and bunkers, saying the greens were just “dirt” in many places and some of the bunkers didn’t have sufficient sand. But he said the course played easier Sunday and he enjoyed his day much more.

“I didn’t think they put the pins in quite as many dirt patches as yesterday,’’ he said. “But they still aren’t very fun to putt on.’’

Summerhays capped off his round by rolling in a 12-foot birdie putt at No. 18 with his wife Emily and 10-month-old daughter Lydia watching from a nearby hillside.

“It was nice to make one there on the last hole for my girls,’’ he said.

Summerhays said he will take “a lot of confidence” from his second U.S. Open after missing the cut in 2010.

“I felt like I did well all week, I just had a rough day (Saturday),’’ Summerhays said. “I’m really looking forward to the next few weeks of play.’’

Finau hit the ball solid all day, but had only two birdies to show for his effort. He got one at the first hole with a 5-footer and added another at No. 15 with a 12-footer.

The killer was the 495-yard par-4 No. 6, where he missed one of his few fairways this week, ending up in the fescue on the right side. He missed the green and three-putted, giving him his third 6 of the week at No. 6.

“I don’t know why I played that hole bad all week and that was unfortunate for me,’’ he said.

Finau also lamented his finish on the last three holes. He three-putted the par-4 16th after driving the green, then bogeyed No. 17 and couldn't birdie the par-5 18th.

If Finau had finished two shots lower at even-par 280, he would have tied for ninth and earned an exemption into next year’s U.S. Open, which will be played at Oakmont in Pennsylvania.

“I wasn’t really thinking about it, but that would have been a nice bonus,’’ Finau said.

Both players plan to play in the next three PGA Tour events, the Travelers in Connecticut, the Greenbrier in West Virginia and the John Deere in Illinois. If they each play well enough they could earn a spot in the British Open at St. Andrews in mid-July.