AUGUSTA, Ga. (ABC4 Sports) – Tony Finau woke up today not knowing if he would be able to play in his first Masters tournament.
On Wednesday, the West High School graduate and Salt Lake City native dislocated his ankle while celebrating a hole-in-one in the Par-3 tournament. But after he was cleared to play following an MRI exam, Finau turned in one of the best rounds of his life.
Finau shot a 4-under 68, and is in second place behind Jordan Speith after the first round.
“This is a moment I’ve dreamed of my whole life, and to see the possibility of it slipping away when I feel ready to compete against the best players in the world is tough,” Finau said. “It’s mind over matter for me, when I played I told myself we’re going to think our way through this golf course, I’ve been preparing, let’s try not to think about the ankle and see how it plays out.”
After bogeying the first hole, Finau birdied holes 2, 4, 8, 9, 13 and 15 to end the day in the best position he’s ever been in after any round in a major championship.
He actually said his injured foot helped him stay focused.
“I was able to stay in the moment because of my foot,” Finau said. “Every shot that I hit, I had to think about it a little bit. I think it kind of masked the pressure a little bit.”
Finau is tied with Matt Kuchar for second place at 4-under, two shots behind Spieth headed into the second round tomorrow.