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PGA Championship: Utah’s Tony Finau posts solid opening round

For about 10 minutes early Thursday morning, it appeared Tony Finau’s appearance at the 2022 PGA Championship was going to be brief.

Finau made a bogey on the 420-yard par-4 10th hole, his first hole of the day, after his opening tee shot traveled 325 yards and split the fairway. His approach hit the green, but spun back into a bunker and he missed a 10-footer for par.

However, that would turn out to be Finau’s only bogey on the day, and he finished his round at 1-under 69 and in good shape to make the cut. Finau was in the T10 range when the morning wave of players had completed their rounds, having teed off at 6:38 a.m. MDT.

The West High graduate will be in the afternoon wave Friday, teeing off at 12:03 p.m. MDT and playing again with Hideki Matsuyama and Xander Shauffele.

Rory McIlroy was the early leader, carding a 5-under 65 while playing in a couple groups behind Finau.

Tiger Woods, playing in the same group as McIlroy, got off to a good start and was 2 under though five holes, but struggled from there and finished at 4-over 74 and is in danger of missing the cut. He bogeyed seven of his final 13 holes.

Finau got it going on his fourth hole, the par-5 13th, with a tap-in birdie after chipping within 3 feet.

Finau is one of the worst putters, statistically, on the PGA Tour this year and putting woes again caught up to the former Lehi resident. The 32-year-old Finau had good looks for birdie on several holes on his back nine, but could only get one putt to drop.

He birdied the difficult 508-yard par-4 second hole, making a 22-footer.

Each nine at Southern Hills Golf Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has only one par-5. Finau failed to birdie the par-5 fifth hole when his 14-footer lipped out.

He hit a huge, 360-yard drive on No. 7, the longest drive of the day, to that point, on that hole. But he missed a 10-footer for birdie.

On the par-3 8th hole, his 17th, he made a fantastic up-and-down after leaving his tee shot on the 249-yard hole short and left.

Finau is playing in his 24th major championship this week, and has made the cut in six of his seven appearances in the PGA Championship. He tied for eighth last year at Kiawah Island in South Carolina in a tournament won by Phil Mickelson, who is not entered this year.

Finau tied for fourth at Harding Park in San Francisco in the 2020 PGA Championship.

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