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Tony Finau in position for first major win at 2024 US Open

Tony Finau in position for first major win at 2024 US Open

PINEHURST, N.C. — Tony Finau’s name has moved up on the list of best players without a major championship.

Following Xander Schauffele’s victory last month at the PGA Championship, Finau is among the top-end players attempting to break through in similar fashion this week at Pinehurst No. 2 in the 2024 U.S. Open.

With a 2-under-par 68 in Thursday’s opening round, the six-time PGA Tour winner can contend in Pinehurst. Finau is three shots back of leader Patrick Cantlay, another player chasing that first major title.

“Getting off to a good start in any major championship is important,” said Finau, who has 10 top-10 finishes in major championships.

“I think U.S. Opens, if you can post a red number early,  it’s a golf tournament that – you said it right on the button – I don’t feel like I have to do extra and chase guys down. I’m right in position after round one, which is key if you’re trying to win a major.”

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The 34-year-old Utah native has a trio of top-15 finishes in the U.S. Open, but he’s missed the cut in four of his eight starts in golf’s national championship. He tied for 14th in his first U.S. Open start at Chambers Bay in 2015 and played in the final group with Brooks Koepka at Shinnecock in 2018.

On Thursday, Finau rolled in a birdie putt out of the gate at the par-5 10th before carding seven straight pars. His front nine was a mixed bag as Finau offset birdies on Nos. 5 and 7 with bogeys on Nos. 2 and 9.

“I thought I played pretty solid all day,” Finau said.

“It’s a golf course you can play from the fairway,” he later added. “I was really happy with the way I drove it. I think my score just kind of reflected how I drove the golf ball, and was able to hit greens and make a couple putts.”

He knows it’s only going to get harder as things heat up this weekend. Finau, who turned pro in 2007, remembers watching a “little bit” of the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, noting that the course was “a lot more brown and yellow” than this year.

“It’s not as firm yet as I think it’s going to be on the weekend,” Finau said. “. … There’s going to be dicey pins all week.”

Coming off a tie for eighth at the Memorial, which was his third top-25 finish in a row, Finau arrived in the Sandhills of North Carolina in good form.

If he can put together three more rounds similar to the one he had Thursday, Finau just might remove…


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