Finau distances himself from Canadian Pendrith to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic


Tony Finau got away with the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Sunday at Detroit Golf Club to become the first PGA Tour player in three years to win back-to-back regular season events.

Finau closed with a 5-under 67 for a five-stroke win and a tournament-best 26-under 262 overall. Taylor Pendrith (72), Patrick Cantlay (66) and rookie of the year Cameron Young (68) are tied for second.

Finau picked up his fourth career victory, a third title in more than 11 months. He was the winner of the 3M Open last week in Minnesota, where he rallied from five strokes back to win by three. Brendon Todd was the last to win back-to-back regular season wins, doing so in 2019.

Finau, the Salt Lake City native with Tongan-Samoan heritage, began his winning streak last August at the Northern Trust, where he earned his first win in five years and 142 PGA Tour starts.

Finau stopped another Detroit drought, winning for the first time in six attempts as he had or shared the 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour event. With his sixth birdie at No. 17 and a closing par, he broke Nate Lashley’s tournament record of 25 under set in 2019 at the inaugural PGA Tour event.

The PGA Tour will wrap up the regular season at the Wyndham Championship, with the North Carolina event opening on Thursday. Players on the bubble will have one last chance to finish in the top 125 of the FedEx Cup leaderboard to earn a playoff spot and a full card next season.

WATCH l Finau clinches Rocket Mortgage Classic for back-to-back PGA Tour titles:

Tony Finau claims victory at Rocket Mortgage Classic

The 32-year-old shot 5-under 67 in the final round for the win. He has now won back-to-back PGA Tour competitions, having finished first in the 3M Open last weekend.

Finau and Pendrith of Richmond Hill, Ont., started Sunday tied and their potential duel in Detroit turned out to be a dud.

Pendrith had a lackluster first round of the tournament after sharing the first-round lead with Finau, leading him by a stroke after the second and equaling his under-21 tally in three rounds.

Tony Finau of the United States (L) shakes hands with Taylor Pendrith of Canada after Finau won the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Sunday. Pendrith finished tied for second after both men entered the day tied for the lead. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The 31-year-old PGA Tour of Canada rookie hit an errant tee shot on the second hole from the right into the rough behind tree limbs – after being distracted by a fan crossing the fairway – and later fired a 9-footer to lose your mind for good.

Cantlay, No. 4 in the world, had his third consecutive round in the mid-60s after opening with a 70. Young rebounded from a 71 in the first round to finish second for the fifth time.

Pendrith struggled in the final round as he did the only other time he had a 54-hole lead. He led Bermuda’s championship last October by three strokes before a 76 dropped him to fifth place, which was his best result before his performance at Motor City. Pendrith played in her third tournament after missing nearly four months with a broken rib.

Finau started to pull away from Pendrith with an 11-foot birdie putt at No. 4 and a tap-in for a birdie at No. 7.

He putt 21 feet for a birdie at No. 10 for his third birdie. After his first bogey of the tournament at No. 11, Finau made a 31-foot putt with a right-left break at No. 12 and Pendrith missed an 11-foot putt on the same hole to fall four strokes back.

Cantlay jumped within three shots of the lead with a 5-foot eagle putt on the par-5 14th. On the same hole, Finau birdied his fifth of the final round to lead by four strokes.

Japan’s Furue wins his first LPGA Tour title

Japan’s Ayaka Furue birdied six straight midway through her round and rallied from a four-shot deficit with a 10-under 62 to win the Women’s Scottish Open on Sunday for her first title on the LPGA Tour.

A seven-time LPGA winner from Japan – once as an amateur – Furue became the second rookie to win on the LPGA Tour this year, and she did it in style at Dundonald Links.

Entering the final round four shots behind Céline Boutier of France, the 22-year-old finished the front nine with four straight birdies and added two more to start the back nine. She never let go, playing without bogey to win by three.

Boutier was still in fine form until he made three bogeys on the back nine for a 69.

Furue finished 21-under 267 and won US$300,000, along with valuable momentum for the final major of the year next week at the Women’s British Open at Muirfield.

She began to show her full potential late last year on the LPGA of Japan when Furue won three tournaments in four weeks and finished tied for third in the other. Furue finished second on the money list behind Olympic silver medalist Moni Inami, earned an LPGA card in the qualifying tournament and entered the women’s Scottish Open ranked 30th in the world.

Sherbrooke, Que. Native Maude-Aimée Leblanc (72) is tied for eighth after entering the day one shot behind the head.

South Korea’s Hyo Joo Kim (66) and USA’s Cheyenne Knight (67) are tied for third, four strokes behind.

New Zealand’s Lydia Ko, the 36-hole leader, faded to a 71-71 weekend and tied for fifth.

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