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Finau Claims First Victory on PGA Tour at Puerto Rico

Photo by Jared Tilton/Getty Images

 

By Joe Watts

 

The par five 18th hole at the Coco Beach Country Club in Puerto Rico will always have a special place in the memories of Utah’s Tony Finau. It is where he went through a refiner’s fire of sorts and won his first PGA Tour victory.

Finau faced a six-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to win the title in regulation, but he missed it and had to enter a playoff with Steve Marino.

An unusual playoff format dictated that the playoff would be continually repeated on the 18th hole until a winner was determined, which gave Finau a chance to redeem that missed putt in regulation.

On the first extra hole, Marino got up-and-down from the left bunker, blasting to eight feet. Finau pitched to a foot from left of the green. On the second extra hole, Marino hit a flop shot over the right-side bunker to 10 feet, and Finau pitched to six feet from in front of the green. They both made their crucial putts.

For Finau, the third time was the charm as he made a four-foot putt for his third straight birdie on the hole to win his first PGA Tour title.

Marino is winless on the PGA Tour, and it is his second loss in sudden death. He lost in a playoff in 2009 at Colonial.

The win at the Puerto Rico Open carries a bit of an asterisk with it as most of the top players on tour were playing in the World Golf Championship.

Nevertheless, the win earned him a huge paycheck of $540,000 and 300 FedEx points, which moves him into the elite top 30, the magic number that advances to the FedEx playoffs at the end of the season.

Zac Blair and Daniel Summerhays, not qualifying for the World Match Play Championship, took the week off.

 

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