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Tony Finau cruises to victory at Houston Open

Sportsnaut
Nov 13, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Tony Finau raises the championship trophy after winning the Cadence Bank Houston Open golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Finau shot a final-round, 1-under 69 to coast to a four-stroke victory at the Cadence Bank Houston Open on Sunday.

Finau held a share of the lead through one round at Memorial Park Golf Course, then separated himself from the pack Friday with an 8-under 62. He had a four-shot lead entering Sunday en route to his 16-under 264 and his third victory of the calendar year.

“When I teed off this morning I felt a little off, honestly. You know, it’s not easy sleeping on the lead,” Finau said. “I didn’t know if I had it in me, but you just take it a shot at a time.”

Tyson Alexander shot a final-round 66 to finish in second place at 12 under in his eighth career PGA Tour start. England’s Ben Taylor (70 Sunday) was third at 11 under.

Finau birdied four holes on the front nine, including two par 3s, to reach 19 under for the event. He led by as many as eight shots. Bogeys at Nos. 10, 14 and 15 brought him back to earth a bit but were not enough to put his result in any doubt.

“I’ve never had an eight-shot lead on the final round on tour,” Finau said. “It’s an interesting mindset. Yeah, a little bit of ‘don’t screw it up,’ or maybe ‘if we hit some good shots we can extend this lead.’ You kind of live in the middle … I kind of lived in the middle out there.”

Entering the 2021-22 season, Finau had had a successful PGA Tour career but just two wins to show for it. He won back-to-back events in July, the 3M Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and now has his first win of the 2022-23 campaign.

Finau ranked fourth in the field this week in driving accuracy, second in greens in regulation and second in strokes gained: putting.

“Probably the best driving week I’ve had in my career, at least that’s how I felt,” Finau said. “Yesterday for the first time in my career I hit all 13 fairways, 100 percent of fairways in regulation. I’ve never done that in my career, so definitely drove the ball. And it’s a lethal combo when I feel like this is the best putting week I’ve had as well. So you combine those two and you can get kind of a runaway win like I had.”

Alexander posted five birdies and just one bogey for his third 66 of the week. He said he came away from the week knowing that he can compete on tour.

“I wish Tony would have taken the week off,” Alexander said, “but yeah, you know, 132 players (in the field), I think one guy’s going to beat me, so that’s what it’s all about, just trying to beat as many people as possible.”

–Field Level Media