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U.S. Open golf: Tony Finau drops into tie for 15th place Saturday

Saturday was supposed to be “moving day” for some of the best golfers in the world at the 123rd U.S. Open, but Utah’s Tony Finau — who certainly fits that description — moved in the wrong direction.

Having entered the third round sitting in 11th place, Finau is now tied for 15th after firing a 2-over 72 at the par-70 Los Angeles Country Club.

Finau was in decent shape through 16 holes, but bogeyed holes 17 and 18 to tumble down the leaderboard.

On 17, an errant tee shot into the barranca was the culprit, while on 18 Finau missed a 3-foot putt for par that left him 1-under for the tournament heading into Sunday’s final round.

Despite hitting 11 of 13 fairways and 11 of 18 greens in regulation, Finau could never generate any momentum Saturday as LACC turned firm and fast and gave up very few outstanding rounds.

Finau “saved” a birdie on the 594-yard par-5 first hole, rolling in a long lag putt.

Finau moved up the leaderboard early in his round, and was tied for ninth after adding five pars to his opening birdie on the easier front nine.

However, he made a bogey on the treacherous 277-yard par-3 seventh hole for the first time this week. He missed a 19-foot putt for par on the hole after pushing his tee shot left.

Finau missed a 4-footer for birdie on No. 8, a par-5 which has been playing as the easiest hole on the course.

He added a birdie on No. 10 to go 4-under for the tournament, but that was as good as it got for the Salt Lake City native.

He did have a highlight on No. 14, a 627-yard par-5. An awkward stance (one foot in bunker, one knee on the grass) resulted in his third shot squirting over the green and into deep rough.

However, he chipped his fourth shot to 5 feet and made the par-saving putt.

On No. 15, the 81-yard par-3 that was set up as the shortest hole in U.S. Open history, Finau had a 12-foot, 9-inch putt for birdie but just missed it.

Breaking through with a victory in his 29th major championship is almost certainly out of the picture for Finau, but he can set his sights on a top-10 finish. That would be a nice achievement considering he missed the cut in the last two U.S. Opens.

His highest finish at a U.S. Open came in 2018 at Shinnecock Hills when he finished alone in fifth place.

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