By now, you would think the glass would be half empty, but despite another close call at The Genesis Invitational, Tony Finau continues to see it as half full.
On the second playoff hole at Riviera Country Club, Finau lost to Max Homa to finish in the runner up slot, his 21st top-5 finish since the beginning of the 2016-17 season. Over that period, only five other players have more, but they all have between four and 12 wins each in the span.
The frightening form of Finau has not come with victories. Since his one and only triumph at the Puerto Rico Open when it was an opposite field event in the 2015-16 season, the 31-year old has not won on the PGA TOUR.
He reversed a trend on Sunday that saw him slink from the top of the leaderboard on occasions to shoot a blistering 7-under-64. As he notched up eight birdies and just one lone bogey, he did not look like a player afraid to win.
“Anytime I’ve had a chance to win, I haven’t been the guy that went low and today I was, so I can take a lot of confidence from that,” Finau said. “That’s something that I wanted to happen today to just prove to myself on Sundays that I can put myself in the thick of it and shoot a number. At the end of the day I’m going to be able to look back on that and have a lot of positives to take from it.”
But Homa made a brilliant up-and-down birdie from a bunker on the 17th hole just when it appeared Finau had broken his drought with scintillating play and then stuffed his approach to 3 feet on the last.
Finau was not going to lose this one, at least. He was going to get beaten. Until he did not.
Homa attempted to ram the putt home for the win, but it caught the edge of the hole and lipped out, breathing new life into the chances of Finau.
Sadly, he could not take advantage of the gift. Finau would critically miss two in the playoff after not missing a single putt inside 10-feet for the final 27 holes of regulation (22 of 22).
He had the opportunity to take the title from 7 feet on the opening playoff hole, but left it agonisingly short. He missed the green one hole later, and had to splash out of a bunker. Homa missed his glory shot, leaving Finau with less than 10 feet to keep the battle going. It wasn’t going to drop and Homa took the spoils.
The lack of closing results has seen many want to point fingers and claim that on Finau’s part, each near miss is a failure. Or that the native of Utah simply does not have the mental strength to accomplish things. Finau refuses to yield to that narrative style.
“It’s bittersweet to be in this position again, but I never get tired of playing good golf and that’s what I tell myself every week,” Finau said in the aftermath of missing another chance.
“Sports is about winning; I’ve said that many times. I grew up trying to win every tournament I play, every tournament I play, nothing’s changed. But I know at the end of the day you’re going to lose a lot more times than you’re going to win on the PGA TOUR.
“I’m not a quitter, I’m not someone that’s going to fade away into the sunset because I can’t win in these situations. I had another great shot today. I don’t know what else I can say other than I enjoy playing good golf and one of these days it will happen for me and hopefully turn into kind of a domino effect.”
With the result, Finau moved to sixth in the FedExCup and remains entrenched in the top 15 world rankings as he heads to the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship at The Concession next week.