Since the inception of the 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic, no idea has been put in place for Tony Finau’s hangover performance. After winning the 3M Open last week in convincing fashion, the American was at it again at Detroit Golf Club as he signed rounds 64-66-65-67 en route to his fourth PGA Tour victory and his third in less than a year.
Although he became the first player since Brendon Todd in 2019 to win in consecutive weeks during the regular season, the two wins couldn’t be different. Beneficiary of Scott Percy’s collapse at the TPC Twin Cities, Finau’s nine-back charge along with some good luck was enough to propel him into the Minnesota winner’s circuit at 26-under par.
Nothing was so lucky with his record performance in Detroit. Every aspect of his game was shooting all cylinders and it wasn’t until Sunday’s hole 11 that he hoped the Presidents Cup with his first bogey of the week. Finau punched 64 holes without dropping a bullet, choking the pitch as any fouls from his opponents were amplified by ten.
With a chasing group consisting of the likes of Patrick Cantlay and Cameron Young to start the final round, it’s safe to suggest that an earlier version of Finau would have been feeling the heat. However, as we saw with Xander Schauffele earlier this summer, it’s amazing how just two weeks can change our perception of a player.
Many have been waiting for Finau to discover his full potential, and this week he may have turned 26. When he starts playing on the greens, he can make the game seem as easy and stress-free as anyone on the tour.
In this day and age, youth is the name of the game. Each season, a fresh new face jumps onto the scene and effortlessly on the biggest stage in golf. There’s Scotty Scheffler, Colin Morikawa, Will Zalatores, and Cameron Young to name a few, and for those on the wrong side of the 30 it makes the window much shorter.
While his win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic marks the end of his regular 2021-22 season, it comes with the start of Finau’s next chapter in his career. career as a winner. A playoff round similar to last year’s Cantlay competition was written about last week but why stop there. His victory came in two of the weakest fields in 2022, but given his ability to rise to the occasion in the major tournaments, in case anyone would be surprised if Finau can build such momentum in 2023 and seriously threaten for a certain green jacket in April. Grade: A +
Below is an analysis of the rest of the leaderboard for the 2022 Rocket Mortgage Classic
T2. Taylor Pendrith (-21): Unfortunately for the 31-year-old rookie, the nerves were there early and often on Sunday. Never looking very comfortable in the final round, Pendrith turned up to par because he wasn’t able to turn the bird chances in any of the 5s. Lagging Finau by two strokes, the driver continued to betray the Canadian as he erred in two directions. In what was only the start of his third comeback since returning from a rib injury, he impressed Pendrith and finished fourth in a row in his 15th in the Players Championship. He made mincemeat from these short spots in his starter campaign, and should always be considered in those about 7,200 yards. Grade: A
T2. Patrick Cantlay (-21): One of the biggest surprises of the season is the fact that Cantlay is still without a solo victory. He started the last round a long way from Pendrith and Finau as he was slow to come out of the gates on Thursday with a 2-under-70. However, his performance at the Rocket Mortgage Classic was another close call as the reigning PGA Tour player. In the year now 10 of the top 10 places – two of which were playoff losses – in just 16 starts. Heading into the FedEx Cup playoffs in a good position to defend his crown, he will need to re-create last year’s post-season magic in order to have the biggest payday of the year in the Tour Championship. Grade: A-
T2. Cameron Young (-21): The potential winner of this year’s PGA Tour found himself in a familiar situation on Sunday. Leaving the two co-leaders by four strokes, Young was unable to match his final round of the Open Championship and instead stopped for most of his round and eventually signed for a 4-under 68. While unable to threaten to lead, he once again played his part on the front page of the Billboard The leaderboard as he did with impressive regularity throughout the junior season. In all, he now has seven podium finishes, and conventional wisdom suggests a major victory is just around the corner. Grade: A-
T20. Will Zlatoris (-13): Another week goes by that Zalatoris goes without his first PGA Tour win. After signing rounds 70-71 and cutting the number, producer Wake Forest found his game over the weekend and climbed his way inside the top 20 rounds of 69-65. As it stands, Zalatoris is set to play in the Wyndham Championship and perhaps a return to North Carolina will push him into the winner’s circle. He would need to improve on and around the green as he ranked outside the top 50 on both short-game metrics and thus missed a great ball showing. B degree
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