Tony Finau put himself in fantastic position to win his first World Golf Championship event and capture his second PGA Tour victory through two rounds of the HSBC Champions, but he did so by overcoming one of the worst breaks you’ll ever see.
Playing the par-4 11th hole 5-under par for his round and 11-under par for the tournament, Finau hit a solid recovery shot from the right rough that landed squarely on a sprinkler head just short of the putting surface, launching what would have likely been a decent look at birdie over the green some 30 yards into the outskirts of a hazard.
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Finau chopped out of the hazard back across the green, stubbed his next chip and two-putted for a double bogey.
“That was about as bad a break as I’ve ever had, to kick all the way over the green into the hazard,” Finau said after the second round. “One thing I’ve learned in this game, you take the good with the bad and keep moving forward. I knew I was playing well still and still at the top of the leaderboard. Just keep plugging along and try to get that back and I was able to do that.”
That’s exactly what Finau did, making three birdies over his last seven holes against one bogey to post a 67 to lead by three strokes through 36 holes.
Finau again overcame some adversity in the third round to rally from 2-over par for his round through 12 holes to shoot a 2-under par 70 to hang on to his three-shot cushion heading into Sunday in Shanghai.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” Finau said. “I’ve got a world-class field chasing after me. This is the position you want to be in and I’ll be looking to close out my first tournament in this position, which is exciting for me. I’m going to have fun no matter the outcome and hopefully make a lot of birdies and have those guys have to do something special tomorrow to beat me.”