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Similar Laments for 2016 Champion Johnson, Finau

September 20, 2020 - 4:59 PM
A final-round 71 on Sunday put Tony Finau in position for a top-10 finish at Winged Foot. (Chris Keane/USGA)

They began the 120th U.S. Open playing the first two rounds together with Bryson DeChambeau, and while DeChambeau was battling Matthew Wolff for the title, Dustin Johnson and Tony Finau were finishing their weeks in a tie for sixth (Johnson) and a tie for 10th (Finau) after similar struggles on the greens of Winged Foot’s West Course.

“It’s a good week, a tough golf course,” said 2016 champion Johnson, who closed with an even-par 70. “I struggled on the greens a little bit. That was probably the biggest thing for me is I just didn’t hole enough putts. I gave myself enough chances, but I just didn’t putt well enough.”

Johnson stood in a tie for 28th in total putts and was plus-1.09 in strokes-gained putting (T35) as he wrapped up his week. His final round was highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 ninth, when he knocked in a 9-footer.  DJ tied for 35th last year at Pebble Beach after placing solo third in 2018 at Shinnecock Hills.

For Finau, who has 32 top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour without a win since 2016-17 – double the next-closest players, the lament for the week echoed Johnson’s.

“You don't have to be very far off on this golf course, as everybody knows when they set up a U.S. Open, but especially here at Winged Foot, and I wasn’t,” said Finau after closing with a 1-over 71. “I hit so many great putts the last couple days that I thought I made that didn’t go in, and sometimes that’s the rub of the greens.”

Finau considered his 3-over 73 in Round 3 the key to his week.

“I felt like yesterday was the day to score,” he said. “Some of those pins down the stretch you could make birdies, and I wasn't able to do that. I think yesterday if I finished differently, I could do something special today and maybe shoot a couple under and have a chance.”

Statistically, Finau was minus-0.86 in strokes gained putting, which placed him 42nd of the 61 players who completed 72 holes. Finau only sees good things ahead, though.

“I have been playing some solid, consistent golf,” said Finau, who turned 31 last Monday. “I think I’ve learned a lot about myself through my first six seasons on Tour. My favorite number is seven, and I’m just starting my seventh season on Tour. Maybe that’s going to bring me some fortune during the season.”