There are very few people in the golf world who have played better than Tony Finau over the past year.
And he just beat one of them.
Finau beat top-ranked Jon Rahm and the rest of the field in pretty dominant fashion to win the Mexico Open on Sunday. The win marked his second of the season and fourth in his last 18 starts. He moved to No. 11 in the Official World Golf Rankings, which is just two spots shy of his career-best mark.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 30, 2023
“I played great golf all week. That's something that I wanted to do,” Finau said. “Every day I was striking the golf ball really nicely, but the biggest thing is I was able to convert the birdie putts that I really needed to and also some of the par saves that were momentum swingers for me. Very happy just with the four rounds I was able to put together. And I knew today was going to be a tall task going against Rahmbo with the form that he's in. I was really put to the test and came out on top, which feels great.”
Finau — who was the second-highest-ranked golfer in the field — started Sunday with a two-shot lead over Rahm and Akshay Bhatia. Finau pushed that to a four-shot lead at one point after going 3-under on his front nine before finishing with his bogey-free 66. He led the field in strokes gained tee-to-green and carded a tournament-best 27 birdies on the week.
That earned him his sixth career win and a check for more than $1.3 million.
Rahm finished three shots back at 21-under. Brandon Wu came in third at 19-under, and Bhatia was alone in fourth at 18-under. Finau has now won his last four tournaments by an average of almost four shots.
“My mindset on Sundays I think has just changed,” Finau said. “You never get comfortable with the lead. That's my nature anyway is to be an aggressive player. I always have been that way, and so Sundays are starting to shape up better for me since I've been in contention, but I think I just have learned a lot.”
Tony Finau the caddie
A few hours after winning in Mexico, Finau was back on the course ... caddying for his kids.
— Sharon Shin (@SharonShin92) May 1, 2023
When will Tony Finau pull off a major?
Sure, Finau seems like he’s figured out how to find success on the Tour.
But with how well he's been playing over the past several months, Finau needs to capitalize on the moment.
Finau has yet to win a major championship in his career. He finished T26 at the Masters last month, which actually marked his best major finish since the 2021 PGA Championship, where he finished T8.
What he’s counting on is a big boost coming out of Mexico. Last season, when Finau finished a shot behind Rahm at the Mexico Open, he had two top-5 finishes in his next four starts. He then won back-to-back weeks in July at the 3M Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and finished ninth at the Tour Championship.
“I went on a nice run after this tournament last year, and hopefully it propels me this year to do some great things as well,” he said.
That hot streak hasn't really ended. Finau has only missed the cut once in 13 starts this season, and just two times since his runner-up finish in Mexico last year.
Racking up wins like he’s doing is one thing, and it's impressive. But what's missing from his resume is a major championship, and Finau needs to make that final step to put himself among the game's best.
It feels like Finau is ready to make that jump, whether that's in a few weeks at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, or later this summer. Failing to at least make a meaningful run at one of the remaining three majors of the season, however, would be a bit of a disappointment.
“You never know what your future holds, but take it a day at a time and this is a nice step in the right direction on my season,” Finau said. “We'll just continue to stack up hopefully some wins and some major championships in the future.”