There was a time when Tony Finau’s name elicited more questions than answers.
With his third PGA Tour victory in 2022 on Sunday at the Cadence Bank Houston Open, Finau further validated his place among the game’s upper echelon, cruising to a four-stroke victory over rookie Tyson Alexander.
“I’ve always been very mentally strong,” Finau said. “To be consistently great, it takes a full game both mentally and physically. I’ve always been tough and strong mentally, and having a game that matches that is a great combination. I’m starting to see that in myself.”
Just over 15 months ago, Finau was still lugging around the label of a guy blessed with immense talent but just one PGA Tour victory. There seemed to be a disconnect between the talent and the results.
That began to change with Finau’s victory in the 2021 Northern Trust, and it has erupted into a bonfire since midsummer. That’s when Finau won the 3M Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic in consecutive weeks.
It seemed hardly to matter that Finau missed the cut a week earlier at the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba. He shot 65-62 in the first two rounds in Houston and dominated the weekend, stretching his lead to as many as eight strokes during the final round. He finished at 16-under 264 at Memorial Park.
Finau has been one of the tour’s most consistent ball-strikers, and he has worked to refine the edges of his game. Last season, he ranked fifth on the tour in strokes gained tee to green and 12th in strokes gained on approach to the green, underpinning his success.
“Learning to drive it in the fairway, working on my wedge game, working on my putter, those things are important,” said Finau, 33. “It’s exciting to me that I’m getting better and to remember why you are where you are. I don’t go very far from the DNA in my game.”
In the five-plus-year span between Finau’s first tour victory and his second, he believes the seeds for his current success began to germinate.
“That was the most important stretch of my PGA Tour career. I continued to believe, I didn't give up on myself, I continued to work hard on my body and on my game and I just knew that–- I was always hopeful that I could go on special runs, and I think we're starting to see that now,” Finau said.
“I'm starting to put together a full-package game, which is really exciting for me. That's all you can do is work hard, and I've worked extremely hard on parts of the game that I know I have to, and I think it's starting to show.”
Ron Green Jr.