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Posted April 14, 2019 06:04 pm
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Finau fine with performance despite falling short

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    Tony Finau leaves the second green during the final round of The Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Augusta, Georgia. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Numbers don’t lie, and Tony Finau has bragging rights to some impressive ones after finishing his second career Masters Tournament on Sunday.

Finau, grouped in the circus atmosphere surrounding Tiger Woods, shot par on Sunday to finish at 11 under for the tournament and a tie for fifth place. Coming into Augusta this year, Finau was better known for injuring his ankle last year while celebrating a hole-in-one during the Par-3 Contest. He still gutted out a tie for 10th place.

Two Masters Tournaments, and now two top 10s.

“Yeah, what I like about it here is if you drive it with some length you have a huge advantage,” said Finau, who finished with the longest average driving distance at 316.2 yards. “I just feel that way. When you drive the ball well, which I did this week, I know I’m going to have a chance to win here many years to come.”

PHOTOS: Final Round action at The Masters

Finau opened the day tied for second place at 11-under, two strokes behind leader Francesco Molinari. 

Heading to the 12th tee, Finau was still in the the hunt at 10-under, three strokes behind. But he pulled his 9-iron tee shot and wound up in Rae’s Creek, eventually settling for double bogey.

“For me, 12 was the turning point,” Finau said. “Tiger hit the green and I hit it in the water as did Francesco. I knew from then on I had to play pretty much perfect golf. I still had a chance to make something happen. … but 12 was kind of the big swing and unfortunately I hit it in the water.”

Finau and Molinari had their fans following them Sunday, but the massive crowds were yelling encouragement and roaring for Tiger on every hole. He soaked in the experience and said his game did not falter because of the adulation toward Tiger.

“For me, it was fun being a part of the action,” Finau said. “And it’s a lot of fun to be in that type of atmosphere. This wasn’t the ending I wanted, but to witnesses that firsthand was fun. Congrats to Tiger on his 15th major.”

Finau said he takes away nothing but a positive experience from Sunday’s round.

“To me it’s exciting knowing I’m coming back next year,” said Finau about his reward for finishing among the top12 for an automatic invite for the 2020 Masters Tournament. “I finished 10th last year, tied for fifth this year. So hopefully I’ll keep that trend going and maybe win next year.”