Tony Finau has accomplished a lot in his golf career, including winning $1,330,555 in his first year on the PGA Tour. However, Finau has never played in a U.S. Open or any major golf tournament.
Until this year.
Finau punched his ticket to next week’s U.S. Open in Washington state, finishing second in the U.S. Open Sectional Monday at Springfield, Ohio, and grabbing one of the four spots available.
The 24-year-old Finau shot rounds of 66 and 67 for a 133 total at the Springfield Country Club. Finau was one of 67 golfers competing for four spots.
Finau will be joined at the U.S. Open by fellow Utahn Daniel Summerhays, who was among 15 qualifiers at the sectional qualifier in Columbus, Ohio.
Summerhays, who played in the U.S. Open in 2010, was one of 15 qualifiers in the field of 120 at the Brookside Country Club and The Lakes Golf & Country Club in Columbus. Summerhays shot a 67 in the morning at Brookside and a 68 in the afternoon at The Lakes to finish at 135 and tied for fifth overall.
Seven other players with Utah ties weren’t so fortunate in their bids to make the U.S. Open field.
Ogden’s Zac Blair, who is having a strong rookie season on the PGA Tour, got off to a good start with a 69 in Columbus, but struggled to a 78 in the afternoon round. Last year, Blair qualified for the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, N.C., where he finished in a tie for 40th place.
Sixteen-year-old Rhett Rasmussen, who will be a senior at Corner Canyon High School next year, got off to a quick start in the qualifier in Newport Beach, California, with a 67. However he limped home with an 84 in the afternoon to finish well back at 151.
Four other Utahns played at Newport Beach, but only one came close to grabbing one of the six spots in the 112-golfer field.
Riverside CC pro Matt Baird was the closest with rounds of 69 and 73, which left him four strokes off the cut line. Former BYU golfer Keith Clearwater finished at 152 with two rounds of 76, while Richfield pro Kyle Chappell (70-83) and BYU golfer Austin Banz (75-78) both finished at 153.
Scott Pinckney, who was born in Orem before moving to Arizona when he was 12, shot a 75 in his first round at the sectional in Memphis, but withdrew before the second round.
Mike Weir, whose career has been plagued by injuries the past few years, was in the field at Columbus, but withdrew from the competition before it started.
The U.S. Open will be played at Chambers Bay Golf Course near Tacoma, Washington, June 18-21.
In all, 60 golfers earned spots Monday in the U.S. Open, joining 11 qualifiers from England and five from Japan in earlier sectional qualifiers. Approximately 75 players are already exempt for this year's tournament.