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.