BLAINE, Minn. — After reading he was the odds-on favorite for the 3M Open, Tony Finau surprisingly felt the pressure on his mind as he tried to extend the momentum built this summer.
Playing catch-up proved to be the perfect formula for his third PGA Tour victory.
Finau shot a 4-under 67 to win the 3M Open by three strokes on Sunday, erasing a five-stroke deficit with 11 holes left as Scott Piercy fell off the lead at the windy TPC Twin Cities.
“I was expecting to compete and win this year, so when you can do it in the end of the season and you put that kind of expectation on yourself, it’s very satisfying,” Finau said. He finished at 17-under 267.
Sungjae Im (68) and Emiliano Grillo (71) finished second. Piercy followed up his tournament-record 54-hole score to spark a victory with a 76 to finish fourth, four strokes back. James Hahn tied for 65 with Pearcy and Tom Hoge (70) at 13 under.
No. He birdied four of six holes before a three-bogey burst at 14, allowing Fina — who had played the previous three — to take the lead for good. Heartily congratulated by Piercy outside the scoring tent, the 32-year-old Finau recorded the biggest winning rally in four editions of the event.
“I’m a good example of how hard it is to get a contract,” said Finau, who won in 2016 and 2021. “For one thing, it’s nice to have the respect of the guys you’re playing against.”
Naturally strong support came from his wife and five children. They stayed with him in a rented house adjacent to the course and followed him from tee to green. Fishing trips and family meals helped Finau stay off his swing when not needed.
“I am a husband,” said Finau. “I’m a dad. I’m their friend. I try to spend quality time with them.
Finau, who finished third at the 3M Open in 2020, moved from 30th to 17th in the FedEx Cup race. He entered the week at 17th in the world rankings.
Finau made a 31-foot putt for birdie on the 15th green to strengthen his hold on the lead as he walked confidently in his lanky 6-foot-4 frame, white cap and aqua-striped polo.
A sure sign that this is Fina’s day. No. Arrived on the 17th. His tee shot hit the side of the grandstand, rolled back into the green and into the rough — just feet from the water. He landed the perfect chips within a foot of the hole to make a par 3, then smiled slightly, clutching his arm playfully to his chest as if pretending the sequence had given him heart trouble.
On the daunting par-5 18th, Finau found water off the tee to mount a final challenge. But as Piercy watched from the fairway, Finau holed a 3-footer for bogey. He pumped his fist several times, took off his hat and hugged his family.
Piercy shared the first-round lead with Im after a 65 on Thursday and pulled away from the pack on Friday with a 64 to take a three-shot edge into the weekend. He extended his lead to four sides after enduring a 6½-hour weather delay and a painful heel blister on Saturday.
That was nothing compared to the semi he found himself in on Sunday. He was 20-under after six holes. Within an hour, Piercy was in trouble. After posting just three bogeys in his first 61 holes, he went for par in seven of his last 11 runs. In which he is no. Includes 7 of 14 returns.
Piercy’s tee shot fell into the fairway bunker, and his sand umbrella didn’t get him out of the sand. His next attempt from the bunker was short and splashed into the water left of the green instead of a safe play to the right with a risky, last-minute approach. After the fall, Piercy hit the rough. Then his next attempt stopped 3 inches short of the cup.
Piercy led or shared the three-lap lead for the fourth time in six tries and failed to win the race.
Argentinian Grillo, who finished second in the John Deere Classic three weeks ago, ended up triple bogeying the No. 7 hole. There were 303 balls in the water this week, the most all season. On tour.
“Tony pressed the gas really hard, and he made it really hard on everybody,” Grillo said.
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”