3M Open: Finau mounts miraculous comeback en route to runaway win
Meanwhile, the 54-hole leader Scott Piercy melted down, turning what seemed like an easy win into a devastating defeat.
BLAINE, Minn. — Trailing by five strokes in the final round at the 3M Open, it sure felt like Tony Finau was playing for second place.
Never mind that Finau had played very well to that point. He was still struggling to keep up with 54-hole leader Scott Piercy, who was putting out of his mind, and appeared to be well on his way to an easy win.
Naturally, a few hours later, Finau was walking toward the green on No. 18 with “TONY! TONY! TONY!” chants echoing in the background. Not only had he erased the deficit completely, Finau had taken a massive lead of his own, and was moments away from winning the 3M Open.
After a nice lag putt, Finau tapped in to finish the tournament 17 under par, securing his third career victory on the PGA Tour in the process. He gave a massive fist pump in the immediate aftermath, retrieved his ball, and immediately sought out his family in the crowd.
“It’s incredibly special to have my wife and my kids here,” Finau said. “On my hand I can count how many times they weren’t with me throughout this season. They have traveled with me, so to get a win with them here means everything.
“It’s something I’ve thought about and dreamed about for a long time. For that to come to fruition for me and my family today is pretty amazing. I’m humbled by it. “Hopefully my kids will remember this for a long time.
On the other end of the spectrum, Piercy walked off the green on No. 18 a few minutes later, understandably disappointed after melting down in the final round. He was sitting pretty at 20 under par earlier in the day after drilling a birdie putt on No. 6.
That’s where things started to unravel for Piercy.
He bogeyed on No. 8 and No. 9 before salvaging a par on No. 10 to stop the bleeding. After another bogey on No. 11, he actually made birdie on No. 12, only to immediately make bogey on No. 13.
That paved the way for No. 14, a hole that will likely haunt Piercy for the foreseeable future. He hit his drive into the fairway bunker, and with an unforgiving lie in front of him, he failed to get out of the sand on his next shot. He then splashed his approach into the water before mercifully making a triple bogey.
That changed everything. All of a sudden, Finau was in complete control, and Piercy was in chase mode.
After unknowingly taking the lead, Finau made back-to-back-to-back birdies. He actually didn’t realize he was the solo leader until he spotted a leaderboard near the green on No. 16.
“I looked over to the left and I had a three-shot lead,” Finau said. “My heart almost skipped a beat. I couldn’t believe it.”
Admittedly, Finau started to feel some pressure, which showed on No. 17 when he mishit his tee shot. Though that type of mistake has the potential to be disastrous, the ball ricocheted off the grandstand, rocketed back toward the water, and somehow stayed out of the water.
“I called bank in the air,” Finau joked. “I think that cancels everything out.”
As he walked up to the green, Finau couldn’t help but smile. He got up and down for par, then kissed the ball as headed to the final hole.
“I made a bad swing at the wrong time,” Finau said. “I just got lucky. Sometimes you get bounces that go your way. I’ve had many times in that situation, or near the top of the leaderboard where I needed a bounce, and I got the bad bounce. It was nice to see that I got a good bounce today and was able to just capitalize on it.”
With the tournament well in hand at that point, Finau still tried to make things interesting for himself on No. 18, splashing his tee shot into the massive lake the guards the green. He recovered with a nice lay up, then plopped his approach roughly 25 feet from the hole. He two-putted from there and the celebration was on.
While he won the Northern Trust last year the Puerto Rico Open earlier in his career, this is the first time Finau has had his family in attendance.
"l'll remember this forever,” Finau said. “It’s kind of what dreams are made of. For that to come to fruition for our family today is very special.”
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