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Utah’s Tony Finau wins PGA Tour’s 3M Championship with tournament-record five-shot comeback

Finau made four birdies on the back nine at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minn., to overtake former BYU golfer Scott Piercy for his third tour win

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Tony Finau poses for photos with the trophy at the lake

Tony Finau poses for photos with the trophy after his win in the 3M Open golf tournament at the Tournament Players Club in Blaine, Minn., Sunday, July 24, 2022.

Abbie Parr, Associated Press

Utah’s Tony Finau went fishing with his five kids during Saturday’s six-hour weather delay at the 3M Open championship in Blaine, Minnesota.

On Sunday, he reeled in his third PGA Tour victory, coming from five shots behind the leader to win the tournament going away at TPC Twin Cities Golf Club.

Finau shot a 4-under 67 Sunday to finish at 17 under par, three shots clear of Sungjae Im and Emiliano Grillo, and earned $1.35 million for the victory. It was the largest final-round comeback in 3M Open history.

“I tried to seal the deal, but (there were) a couple squirrelly swings coming in; I called bank on 17 and it worked out.” — Tony Finau

Wearing green to honor his mother, Ravena, who died in a car accident in 2011, Finau credited his parents and wife Alayna, for their support.

“I love my family. I love my mom. I miss her,” he said in a televised interview after the win, getting choked up a bit. “It is so special just to have my family here with me and to celebrate this win with me. They mean everything to me. … There have been a lot of people who have got me to this point, and it would be selfish not to thank so many people. But my parents and my wife are people that have supported me since day one, and this one is for them.”

The win vaulted Finau, 32, to 17th place in the FedEx Cup standings and moved him into contention for a berth on the U.S. team for the Presidents Cup. He held the No. 11 spot in the standings before the tournament, and projects to be No. 7 now. The top six earn automatic inclusion on the U.S. team for the international competition that will be held at Quail Hollow Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, in September; another six will be Captain’s selections.

It was Finau’s third PGA Tour victory, and first since he defeated recent Open Championship winner Cameron Smith in a playoff at The Northern Trust in Jersey City, New Jersey, last August. Finau’s first Tour victory came in the Puerto Rico Open in the spring of 2016.

What did it take?

“Really, everything I had. I played great, but every time I looked up, it seemed like I was four or five shots back, really, all day,” he said. “I really got things going in the middle of our back nine, and once I took control of the golf tournament, it was a whole different mindset.”

Finau entered the tournament on a hot streak, having shot a closing-round 6-under-par 66 at The Open Championship last Sunday to finish tied for 28th place.

He was ranked No. 17 in the Official World Golf Rankings. Only 2021 Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama (No. 14) ranked higher among the field in Minnesota.

Hall-of-Famer Nick Faldo, a CBS golf analyst, predicted a Finau win before the round Sunday, saying he would overtake third-round leader Scott Piercy. He was correct.

Piercy, a former BYU golfer, collapsed on the back nine Sunday and finished in a tie for fourth at -13.

Finau opened the tournament with a bogey, but gradually figured out his putting stroke and finally caught fire on the back nine. He made birdie putts of 15, 9, 32 and 8 feet on the back nine to rise to the top of the leaderboard.

He barely avoided a hazard on 17 before making par, and took a four-shot lead into the 18th hole before hitting his tee shot into a water hazard and making a bogey.

“I tried to seal the deal, but (there were) a couple squirrelly swings coming in; I called bank on 17 and it worked out,” he joked.

Piercy got to 20 under at the turn and led by five shots before making bogey on 11 and 13 and a triple-bogey on No. 14. A big swing came when Finau birdied No. 14 to go 16 under and Piercy got in all kinds of trouble on the same hole.

Finau, who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, and spends his summers in Lehi, Utah, now has 13 finishes of second place or better during his PGA Tour career.

In 2020, Finau tied for third at the 3M Open, with his swing coach, former Utahn Boyd Summerhays on his bag. He tied for 28th last year. 

Finau rented a home on the course and took his entire family to Minnesota. Before going fishing Saturday, he played the first eight holes in 3 under. He finished the third round with a 65 to move into contention.

“I am just staying right here off (hole) No. 10, so (we) did a little fishing, took a nap, ate,” he told PGATOUR.com on Saturday. 

Earlier Saturday, Finau made the highlight reels when he used the toe of his putter to roll in a 34-footer for par from the fringe of a green.