Tony Finau said every time he looked up at the 3M Open on Sunday, he seemed to be four or five strokes off the lead. But he continued to attack, and with four birdies on his back nine, along with a surprise implosion from third-round leader Scott Piercy, Finau was suddenly the trailing leader himself, four shots ahead with two holes to go.
Still, Finau made both of these holes terribly adventurous. On the par-3 17th he got quick with his swing, propelling his tee shot from the bottom of the stands to the left of the green. The ricochet was audible and the ball seemed headed for disaster as it bounced towards the water in front of the green. Then fate intervened.
Another foot and things would have been awfully interesting. Instead, Final chipped a foot and made par to go to the 18th hole with a comfortable four-shot advantage.
Standing on the tee of the par-5 home hole, Finau remained aggressive, pulling out a driver. Perhaps too aggressive as the ball faded to the right of the fairway, rolling in the water that hugged the entire hole.
Give some credit to CBS announcer Nick Faldo who was anxious the whole time Finau was teeing the pilot off – Faldo also started the show by saying Finau was going to come back five years and win the title.
Finau took a drop and stopped with his third shot. From 145 yards out he hit his fourth just left of the green. He rolled a putt par 3½ feet beyond the hole, but made the return for bogey which still gave him a comfortable victory.
“Once I took over the golf tournament, it was a whole different mindset, trying to close the deal,” Finau said. “A few swings coming. I called the bank on the 17th, and it worked out.”