Seven days ago, Tony Finau was stuck in idle at two career PGA Tour wins to his name. By Sunday night, he may have doubled that number to four.
Beginning the third round of the 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic one shot off the lead, the 32-year-old PGA Tour veteran came out charging on Saturday and never let up.
He made birdies and the 2nd and 3rd holes, and added another back-to-back birdie stretch at Detroit Golf Club’s 7th and 8th holes to shoot a 32 on the front.
From the start, Finau’s second nine was as solid as his first. He pounded a 323-yard drive into the middle of the fairway at the par-4 10th, then drained an 8-footer for another birdie to reach 18 under.
Thirty-six hole leader Taylor Pendrith, who played alongside Finau in the third round, showed his first sign of cracking with a bogey at 9. Pendrith made another bogey at 13 to fall to 18 under, temporarily surrendering the lead when Finau birdied 14, and for a moment it looked like Finau might pull away and make Sunday’s finale far less interesting.
But Pendrith caught fire again, making three-straight birdies on holes 14-16 and adding another at 18 to shoot 66 and finish at 21 under. Finau nearly kept pace over the final stretch, sinking three birdies of his own to close out a third-round 65 and tied Pendrith for the lead.
It’s a very different situation that Finau found himself in on the eve of last week’s final round at the 3M Open. In that case, Finau trailed leader Scott Piercy by five shots. With little pressure and low expectations, Finau went out and shot a 67 while Piercy collapsed, allowing Finau to claim his third Tour win by a three-shot margin.
On Sunday at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, he’ll have to go face-to-face against Pendrith in the final pairing, with the brand of pre-tournament betting favorite weighing on his shoulders.