His streak of never missing the cut in back-to-back major golf championships in serious jeopardy, Utah’s Tony Finau lined up an 11-foot putt on the famed 18th green Friday at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland.
The graduate of Salt Lake City’s West High proceeded to make one of the most clutch putts of his career, sinking it for birdie in the British Open and surviving to play the weekend in the final major of the season.
Finau also kept alive a streak of never having missed the cut at the British Open. He finished with a 1-under 71 Friday and is at even par heading into the third round after shooting a 1-over 73 on Thursday.
Having missed the cut at the U.S. Open last month at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, Finau has made the cut in 21 of his 26 appearances in majors.
The clutch putt came after Finau had seemingly slipped below the cut with bogeys on holes 16 and 17. And it was just the opposite of his second hole, as he made a double-bogey on No. 2 after a birdie on No. 1.
Finau made a couple similar putts like the one he made on No. 18 to save par earlier in the round, rescuing himself on holes 4, 5 and 13.
Australian Cameron Smith leads the tournament at 13 under, followed by American Cameron Young at 11 under. Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, one of the pre-tournament favorites, is tied for third at 10 under with Viktor Hovland of Norway.
Among the notables who did not make the cut were Phil Mickelson, Brooks Kopeka, Colin Morikawa and Tiger Woods.
Finau, 32, can now turn his attention to another respectable finish in his sixth appearance at the British Open, officially The Open Championship, having posted two top-10 finishes previously, including a third-place finish in 2019 at Royal Portrush. This is the first time he has played in the British Open at St. Andrews.
Tony Finau reacts to his putt on the seventh hole during the first round of the U.S. Open at The Country Club, Thursday, June 16, 2022, in Brookline, Mass. Finau sank an 11-foot putt on the 18th hole Friday at St. Andrews to make the cut at the British Open.
Charlie Riedel, Associated Press