HOUSTON Tony FinauHe wants to end his big Year in a big way. Thursday saw him take a step back and wait for his chance. Then he delivered late birdies for a 5-under-65 that gave him a share the lead in Houston Open.
Finau putt a 60-foot birdie on the par-3 2nd hole, his 11th round, to kick off a string of four birdies in 5 holes.
He was tied for the lead in bogey free Aaron Wise Alex NorenSwedens David Heinz, who could use a week in Houston to secure a spot in the top 50 world golfers as he attempts to win a Masters invitation.
Tyson AlexanderAlexander was also at 5 under, and drove into the left rough after the first round was stopped by darkness. Alexander chose to not finish his round. He will finish the 18th round Friday morning before beginning his second round.
The large group at 66 included Sanderson Farms winner Mackenzie HughesCanada and Keith MitchellUntil his second shot into the par-5 16, he was poised for the lead, he went into the water and ended up with bogey.
Finau won consecutive starts this season in Minnesota, Detroit and his first season with multiple wins. He missed the cut in Mayakoba, and he wasnt doing too well at Memorial Park. However, he knew the course was demanding, from tees to green.
Finau said, I knew it was a tough course to play. You have to drive it in fairway, and your works still not done. It can be difficult to hit the greens. Its difficult to hit the green if you miss it. I was patient with myself.
I made a couple of bombs, that opened it up,
No. He added another birdie on the par-5 3rd with a breeze in his back. He hit a wedge from 4 feet on No. 5, and then he holed a birdie par putt from 12 yards on the next hole.
Finau also won with a bang by putting in a 35-foot putt at the par-3 9th.
Finau is now No. His big run through late August and early July has landed Finau at No. 15 in the world rankings. Two tournaments have been cancelled by the tour this year, before the season resumes at Kapalua the beginning of January.
Finau stated, The season that was my last season was very enjoyable, but I want a better season and I want the year to end strong. And thats what this week is about, Finau said.
The Masters invites go to the top 50 golfers in the world at years end. Noren was in the mix with a second-place finish in Dunhill Links, Scotland. He was No. He was 50 and knew he had a lot of work ahead of him.
Noren was tied for 42nd at Mayakoba last week on a tight course through the mangroves. This requires more precision than power, and Noren has a great wedge game. Memorial Park has a lot of beef, so Noren wasn’t sure what to expect from his game.
Last week was medium to short, with a lot of wedges to get close. Noren said that the course is longer, and that you have to hit fairways and greens. So I was a little nervous coming into today. Although I wasnt feeling great in practice, I found something that helped and was able to get the irons much better. Overall, I would have taken 65.
Wise made four consecutive birdies on the front nine, and was bogey-free. His only win on the PGA Tour so far was the AT&T Byron NelsonDallas. Is there another title in Texas?
Wise stated, It would have been good. I dont want them all to win in one state, but its possible for me to win two in Texas.
Memorial Park was full of delicious bites. Masters champion Scottie SchefflerHe was 4 over through the 10 holes of the morning, when Scheffler salvaged a solid round with four birdies to score a 70. Scheffler can regain No. Scheffler can regain No.1 world ranking with a win.
Sam BurnsHe wasnt as fortunate. He had eight bogeys, seven pars, and finally made his first birdie on par-5 16th. He ended with a score of 77.