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Finau defends at Detroit seeking fifth PGA win

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Tony Finau chases his fifth PGA Tour triumph in the past year this week at Detroit, where he will finally defend a title on the same course where he won it.

The 33-year-old American enters the Rocket Mortgage Classic after wins last July at Detroit Golf Club and the 3M Open, at the Houston Open last October and the Mexico Open two months ago.

“This is actually crazy. This is the first time I’m defending on the same golf course that I won on,” Finau said Tuesday. “It’s different. I’m kind of experiencing new – I don’t know if you call it nerves or excitement, but it’s new. It is really nice to be back.”

World number 14 Finau, who along with ninth-rated United States (US) compatriot Max Homa are the top-ranked players in the field, won his first PGA title at the 2016 Puerto Rico Open but did not defend.

He ended a five-year title drought at the 2021 Northern Trust at Liberty National near New York, a tournament played the next year at TPC Southwind near Memphis.

Jon Rahm and Tony Finau. PHOTO: AFP

He’s trying to soak in the memories and draw some momentum.

“Just nothing but good vibes,” Finau said. “It’s so nice to be back in Detroit where I have such a great memory to look back on.”

Finau has been celebrated this week. Spectators for Tuesday’s practice round were given a Finau “bobblehead” souvenir and his name was on a feature sandwich, the Finau Fitu with coconut water.

“It’s quite a touch,” Finau said. “I’ve never been a name on a menu, so for them to do something that special is really cool, definitely something I’ll always remember. I’ve got this bobblehead, I’ve got the menu item, it’s quite something.”

He has also got a hunger for winning as he seeks a seventh career PGA victory.

“My game is at a point where I believe if I play well I can win any golf tournament,” Finau said. “You have to have the skills to back it up. When you do, it becomes like a confidence thing.”

Last year, Finau went 67 or lower in all four rounds to finish on 26-under par and win by five strokes.

“This may be a week where you have to go 30-under because of the conditions being so soft, so when you shoot 30-under, you’ve got to make putts,” Finau said.

“I’m pretty much calling 30 under this week just because of the conditions.”