At St. Andrews, Utah golfer Tony Finau starts the Open Championshp over par

The Utah golfer recorded a 1-over-par round Thursday at the Old Course in St. Andrews

(Peter Morrison | AP) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, left, and Collin Morikawa of the United States, center, walk to the 11th green during the first round of the British Open golf championship on the Old Course in St Andrews, Scotland, Thursday, July 14, 2022. The Open Championship returns to the birthplace of golf from July 14-17, 2022 to celebrate the 150th edition of the sport’s oldest championship, which dates back to 1860 and was first contested time in St. Andrews in 1873.

On back-to-back holes Thursday, Tony Finau drove his golf ball onto the green at par-4, faced a 105-foot putt and threw a drive for 401 yards at par-5.

His net result for these three adventures: even par. And then his opening round of the Open Championship just kept going up and down. The West High School graduate and summer resident of Lehi posted a 73-for-1 over-par with five bogeys and four birdies on his first visit to the Old Course at St. Andrews, creating a challenge for him to make the cut of 36 holes on Friday.

Finau, who finished with a routine birdie on the par-4 No. 18 court, is tied for 77th. Surprisingly, Finau lost ground slightly as the day progressed after his round, but maybe that’s a good sign, given his second-round assignment. He will start late Friday afternoon in Scotland (8:21 a.m. MDT), again paired with Will Zalatoris and Hideki Matsuyama. The top 70 players (plus ties) will advance to the weekend rounds in Game 150 of the historic tournament.

One of Finau’s four birdies on Thursday was actually a disappointment. He missed a 6-foot eagle putt on the No. 9, after his 341-yard drive hit the green. He birdied a 24-foot putt on the par-4 No. 10 and a 9-footer on the No. 12 after a good chip from the rough beyond the green.

But he played both par-5s in 1 on par, bogey No. 5 after he had trouble in the rough and parry No. 14 when his second shot found a greenside bunker, following his practice epic.

Finau putt three times four times, which can happen on the giant greens of St. Andrews. The 105-foot challenge on the No. 13 might be forgivable, except he missed a 6-footer for par.

Finau is in danger of missing back-to-back cups at major tournaments for the first time in his career, having failed to make the weekend rounds at the US Open last month. He’s played all four rounds in each of his previous five Open Championship appearances, with two top-10 finishes and a worst tie for 27th.


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