Finau parts ways with caddie, shoots first-round 65 at the 3M Open
July 23, 2020
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Tony Finau sinks a 21-foot birdie on No. 3 in Round 1 at 3M Open
BLAINE, Minn. – It wasn’t an easy decision, but Tony Finau knew the time had come.
So, after last week’s Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, he parted ways with Greg Bodine, who had caddied for him since his rookie campaign in 2014-15.
“We were together for six years and it's a tough thing, you know,” Finau said on Thursday. “On a personal level I love the guy and on a business level I felt it was time for a change in my situation and something just different.”
Something different – for this week only at the 3M Open – is Finau’s long-time friend and teacher, Boyd Summerhays. And the transition appeared seamless as the PGA TOUR veteran fired a 65 to tie with Ryan Moore, Xinjun Zhang, Nick Watney, Max Homa, Bo Hoag and defending champion Matthew Wolff, two strokes off the lead.
“It was good, a really solid round, really clean,” FInau said. “I think I only missed one green and just hit it nicely, gave myself a lot of looks and I think that's what you've got to do around this place. It's soft enough to hit them close and I was able to do that enough today and make some putts.”
Finau had done the same last week at Muirfield Village, which was a decidedly different challenge, playing firm and fast and hard. He held at least a share of the lead through two-and-a-half rounds before things started to unravel as Finau played the final seven holes on Saturday in 4 over and saw Jon Rahm surge ahead.
Jack Nicklaus’ signature layout was as unforgiving as any major championship venue on Sunday when Finau limped in with a 78 that left him a distant seven strokes off the pace in eighth. So, a week that had begun with so much promise ended in disappointment and a long-time player-caddie relationship in disarray.
And the Memorial wasn’t the only tournament this year where Finau seemingly had a prime chance to pick up a second career PGA TOUR victory that so many say is harder won than the first, either.
He held the 54-hole lead at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and was two strokes up with two remaining only to lose in a playoff to Webb Simpson. In fact, Finau has had six runner-up finishes since that win at the 2016 Puerto Rico Open.
Finau thrived with Summerhays on the bag on Thursday at TPC Twin Cities, though, making seven birdies and just two bogeys on a golf course that demands the leaders go low. He ranked first in Proximity to the Hole and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, third in Approach The Green and fifth in Off the Tee.
Summerhays has caddied for Finau in the past so it was a comfortable solution. Finau thinks it’s good for the instructor to get a glimpse of his game inside the ropes, and on Thursday, the student put on quite the show.
“We're very close,” Finau said. “No hard feelings no matter what, I think that's a good dynamic to have when you're out there. I didn't have him say too much. I know I'm playing well and for the most part just bring him in when I want him.”
That final-round 78 notwithstanding, Finau said he left Muirfield Village – which featured a major-championship caliber field -- feeling good about his game. The fast start on Thursday in Minnesota only added to his resolve.
“To be able to build up a lead I had on Saturday, that gives a guy some confidence,” Finau said. “I don't think it really matters how I finished the tournament, at least that's the positive I take from it is in that field on that golf course, I was able to play really clean, really nice golf.
“I think it takes a lot of skill to do that, just to put yourself in that position. So that's kind of what I took away from that week and kind of looking to do some of the same this week.”