Tony Finau wins Puerto Rico Open in playoff for 1st title

Tony Finau made headlines before 2016 even started by signing with Nike. And before the year’s first major, he’s already proven to be a great investment.

On Sunday, Finau won the Puerto Rico Open to morph from talented curiosity into PGA Tour winner. Finau, 26, defeated Steve Marino on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff at Coco Beach.

“I think I’m still a little bit overwhelmed,” Finau told reporters in Puerto Rico after. “It probably hasn’t all sunk in.”

Finau played his final eight holes of regulation in two over par to match Marino with a final-round 70. He missed a six-footer for birdie on No. 18 for the win. However, in the playoff, Finau birdied the par-5 18th hole all three times.

I tried to just stay in the moment really,” Finau said. “That’s what I learned from last year. You can never look too far ahead and you can’t look back, either. You’ve got to focus on the here and now. I did a really good job of that today even though that putt slipped by in regulation for the win, I knew I still didn’t lose the tournament. I needed to refocus and get ready to play 18 again. That’s what it takes out here I feel like to win. And now that I have that feeling, it’s pretty special.”

The 36-year-old Marino remained winless in his PGA Tour career after three-putting for par from the back fringe on the final hole. He now has five runner-ups and just under $10 million in career earnings.

Local pro Rafael Campos, the 36-hole leader, shot a second consecutive 72 to finish T-8. Earlier in the week, he became the first Puerto Rican to lead a PGA Tour event since Chi Chi Rodriguez in 1979.

Ian Poulter, the 54-hole leader, shot 72 and finished one shot out of the playoff. He parred his final 13 holes.

“It’s a shame. Just slightly disappointing,” Poulter said. “I’m continuing to work on the game to try and improve, and I know if I rectify a couple of poor shots, then my game will improve. Obviously, hitting shots slightly too far right at certain times is costly.”

Golf Digest

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