The American Ryder Cup hopeful Tony Finau ended the long wait for his second PGA Tour tournament after beating Australian Cameron Smith in a play-off match on The Northern Trust’s delayed final day.
Finau has played in 142 tournaments since his first PGA Tour victory in Puerto Rico more than five years ago, and he has scored 10 runners-up, three of which come in extra holes. But the 31-year-old American eventually got across the course in New Jersey thanks to a back of nine and a helping hand from Smith, who cut his ride off the course on the first extra hole with Finau already in the middle of the fairway.
A solid 20-foot iron puts the outcome beyond doubt, with Smith still drafting his fifth shot off the fairway, and a two-pointer game was good enough to make the first of this season’s three FedExCup playoffs to win.
World No. 1 Jon Rahm shared the 54-hole lead with three-time PGA Tour winner Smith – who scored a card 11 under par 60 in round three – on the way to the last day, and triumph for Finau looks unlikely halfway through the last round, while he followed the Spaniard with three shots from behind. But an impressive nine behind the American, which included three birdies and an eagle in a five-hole piece, resulted in a total of 20 under par, equaled by Smith.
And it was a triumphant procession about which Finau admits that he has been dreaming for longer than he wants to remember. “I feel like it’s a long time coming, but I also feel like you have to earn everything here,” he said. ‘Nothing was given to you, and I was able to achieve this victory, and hopefully the future remains bright. I play great golf and I feel like I can run, so why can you not continue until next week. ”
He added: ‘Nothing came easy for me. I lost in the playoffs, finishing second and third in the big championships, but I persevered and that’s the biggest key – I did not give up on myself and my team. Things are wonderful and to finally make it happen again is wonderful for my family and my career. ”
The English trio Ian Poulter, Matt Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton were one of those whose PGA Tour season ended after finishing outside the top 70 in the FedEx Cup position. The top 70 coaches of the Northern Trust are now advancing to Thursday’s BMW Championship, the second of the FedEx Cup play-offs.
Click on the final scoreboard of the Northern Trust here.
Tony Finau’s winning clubs
Manager: Ping G425 LST (7 °)
Fairway wood: Ping G400 Stretch 3 (12.5 °)
Irons: Nike Vapor Fly Pro (3), Ping Blueprint (4-PW)
Wiggies: Ping Glide Forged (50 °, 56 °), Titleist Vokey Design SM8 WedgeWorks (60 °)
Putter: Ping PLD Anser 2 prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1