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Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

Utah's Tony Finau wins Web.com Tour event, clinches spot on PGA Tour in 2015

By Mike Sorensen, Deseret News

Published: Sun, Aug. 3 11:55 p.m. MDT

 FILE: Tony Finau, from Lehi, talks to media after competing in the Web.com Tour Utah Championship at Willow Creek Country Club in Sandy on Thursday, July 10, 2014.

FILE: Tony Finau, from Lehi, talks to media after competing in the Web.com Tour Utah Championship at Willow Creek Country Club in Sandy on Thursday, July 10, 2014.

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

It’s been a long time coming, but Salt Lake native Tony Finau has made the PGA Tour.

Finau clinched a spot on next year’s tour by winning the Stonebrae Classic in Hayward, California. The 24-year-old fired a 4-under-par 66 Sunday afternoon to take a three-stroke victory over Fabian Gomez, Zack Sucher and Daniel Berger.

Finau had burst into the lead with rounds of 62 and 63 on Friday and Saturday and held on to earn his first Web.com victory after coming close several times earlier this year.

“I feel overwhelmed. It hasn’t really sunk in yet,’’ Finau said. “Going up the 18th hole, I got goosebumps thinking about how far I’ve come these last couple of years. I’m just soaking the win up. It was just a huge performance on my part.’’

The victory was worth $108,000 to Finau and vaulted him from No. 24 to No. 8 on the Web.com Tour money list with $238,125. That assures him of a top 25 finish, which will give him playing privileges on the PGA Tour in 2015.

“It’s going to be huge to get some starts on the PGA Tour next year and that’s obviously where I’ve been aiming at since I turned professional,’’ he said. “I’m looking forward to the next challenge. I’ve been close to the lead this year and to come through this week, I just can’t put into words what it’s going to do for my confidence going forward."

Finau came close three times earlier this year, finishing in a tie for fourth at tournaments in Indiana and Ohio and finishing fifth at the Utah Championship in early July. In the Indiana tournament, Finau was leading with four holes to play, only to bogey three of the final four holes.

In Sunday’s round, Finau held tough throughout. He played the front nine in 1-under with one bogey and just when he’d been surpassed by Gomez, he birdied 10 and 11, while Gomez bogeyed 10. Finau birdied No. 15 with a 10-foot putt to get to 22-under par and his nearest competitors couldn’t go lower than 19-under.

Finau started playing golf at age 7 and was a top junior golfer in Utah, capturing the State Amateur title in 2006 at the age of 16, defeating current PGA Tour regular Daniel Summerhays in the finals. He surprised a lot of folks by turning pro at the age of 17, just as he was finishing high school at West High.

He played on various minor tours and in state opens around the West over the past few years before finally qualifying for the Web.com Tour this year. He made the cut at 11 consecutive tournaments before missing at the Boise Open last month. He took last week off and took advantage of his rest with Sunday’s victory.

Another Utah golfer, Ogden’s Zac Blair, finished in 62nd place at 276 after shooting a 72 Sunday. It marked the fifth-straight week Blair has made the cut on the Web.com Tour.

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1. eagle
Provo, UT,
Aug. 3, 2014

Way to go. Tony's an exciting talent, hitting the ball as far as anyone. He has some pretty good touch around the greens as well. He's slowly learned to harness his talent and make better course management decisions. I think he could become a solid pro on the PGA Tour.

2. thebigsamoan
Richmond, VA,
Aug. 4, 2014

Good things comes to those that persists and endure! Congrats Mr. Finau! Always proud to see a poly do well in any sport on the pro level. Hope you'll have a great PGA career.

3. SharpHooks
Lake Sammamish, WA,
Aug. 4, 2014

I've known Tony and his brother Gipper since they were just kids. I'm so pleased to see his dedication and hard work pay off.
I wish his mom were here to share this great moment, but she is watching...
Well done, Tony!

4. Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT,
Aug. 4, 2014

Congrats, make 2015 special!