Tony Finau opens FedEx Cup playoffs with T5 in Memphis; Zalatoris wins in playoff

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

ON TOUR — Wearing the customary "victory green" in honor of his late mother Vena, Tony Finau marched into a familiar place Sunday afternoon in the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship: right into contention.

The top golfer from the Beehive State on the PGA Tour's run of victories ended Sunday, but his run of strong finishes continued.

Finau carded a 2-under-par 68 to finish with a four-day total of 11-under 269, tied for fifth and four strokes back Sunday at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee. The Rose Park native inched up to No. 6 in the FedEx Cup rankings, with the top 70 qualifying for next week's BMW Championship in Wilmington, Delaware, followed by the top 30 at the Tour Championship in Atlanta, Georgia.

Will Zalatoris won his first PGA Tour event, holding off Sepp Straka on the third hole of a playoff, taking advantage of Straka's shot into the water to become the first player since Camilo Villegas in the 2008 BMW Championship to make a FedEx Cup Playoffs event his maiden Tour title. Lucas Glover and Brian Harman finished tied for third.

With more than $6.7 million in annual winnings, Zalatoris had already topped the mark of most winnings ever without a PGA Tour victory. The 25-year-old San Francisco native in his first full-time season on the PGA Tour who also lost two playoffs during the 2022 season, most notably to Justin Thomas at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills.

On Sunday in Memphis, Zalatoris broke the seal.

"Yeah, it was a grind," Zalatoris told NBC after ascending to No. 1 in the FedEX Cup standings. "This week, didn't have my best stuff on Thursday and just kept telling Joel, just keep waiting till the weekend, and to kind of see that decision pay off at the last was pretty cool.

"Just got to keep doing what we're doing. I said that before this first win and obviously the process, we've been close and to see it finally pay off has been awesome."

Finau, the defending champion from when the event was called the Northern Trust, started the day as one of 16 players within four shots, and started his assault early with a birdie on the apr-4, 392-yard second hole. Finau stuck his approach shot to six feet on the hole, then added another birdie with a nine-foot putt on the ninth hole to hit the turn at 2-under on the round and 11-under overall.

He also received a rousing welcome to the back nine from a tournament volunteer whose gregarious personality went viral on the internet for the warm southern hospitality he brought to players and spectators at the event, including telling Finau, "may the eagles and birdies for kind to you" as he passed by.

Finau pulled one back out of the rough with a birdie on the par-5, 512-yard 16th hole to pull within two shots of the lead. But he could get no closer, including from a 30-foot birdie attempt on No. 17 that fell just short of the hole before a disappointing bogey on No. 18.

Finau's playing partner Brian Harman was just as hot — and then some. The 35 year old from Savannah, Georgia, was 1-under at the turn before playing the first four holes of the back nine at 3-under with a birdie on the par-4, 468-yard 13th hole. That tied him atop the leaderboard with Will Zalatoris, whose final round started with three consecutive birdies in Memphis.

But Harman faltered down the stretch with two bogeys on the final five holes to finish tied for third and three shots off the lead, one shot ahead of a group that included Finau, Adam Scott, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Matt Fitzpatrick, Andrew Putnam and Trey Mullinax.

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A proud graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Walker has covered BYU for since 2015, while also mixing in prep sports, education, and anything else his editors assign him to do.


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