Advertisement

Golf: Tony Finau beats Cameron Smith in playoff, wins Northern Trust Open

1/9
Golf: Tony Finau beats Cameron Smith in playoff, wins Northern Trust Open
Tony Finau holds up the trophy after winning in a playoff against Cameron Smith of Australia in the final round of the 2021 Northern Trust on Monday at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J. Photo by Corey Sipkin/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Tony Finau ended his five-year winless drought by beating Cameron Smith in a playoff Monday at the rain-delayed Northern Trust Open in Jersey City, N.J.

Finau sat three shots back of the lead when he rattled off a birdie-eagle-birdie stretch at Liberty National Golf Club, the last birdie being a 30-foot putt across the 14th green. He closed with a 6-under 65 in the final round of the tournament for a 20-under 264.

Advertisement

Smith had a late rally of his own with two timely birdies on the 16th and 17th holes, but he missed a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th in regulation that would have clinched the victory. He closed with a 67.

That critical birdie putt was as close as Smith came to winning.

RELATED Golf: Rahm, Smith share Northern Trust lead ahead of postponed final round

On the 18th hole during the playoff, Smith hit a wild drive that traveled over the retaining wall that divides Liberty National from the bank of the Hudson River. Finau had already smashed his drive down the middle of the fairway, effectively ending the overtime period.

Since winning the Puerto Rico Open in 2016, Finau had eight runner-up finishes and 11 finishes in the top three.

Advertisement

"It was a battle," Finau said of his win. "I was chasing down the best player in the world in Jon Rahm and Cameron Smith was playing great, so I knew I had to bring the good stuff on the back nine. I was able to do that and just get [Smith] in the playoff.

RELATED Northern Trust: Jon Rahm takes 1-shot lead after second round

"I couldn't be more happy. It's been a long time coming, but miracles come to those who wait and this is definitely one of those."

Rahm finished in third at 18-under 266. Justin Thomas, Alex Noren and Tom Hoge tied for fourth at 15-under par for the tournament.

Those players -- along with Finau and Smith -- were among the top 70 who advanced to this week's BMW Championship -- the second leg of the PGA Tour's postseason. Also moving on to the BMW Championship were Erik van Rooyen, Harold Varner III and Harry Higgs, among others.

The top 125 players in the FedEx Cup rankings qualified for The Northern Trust. The field competed for a total prize purse of $9.5 million, with Finau earning $1.7 million as the winner.

Advertisement

The top 30 players from this week's BMW Championship advance to the season-ending Tour Championship in early September.

The final round of The Northern Trust -- initially scheduled for Sunday -- was postponed a day as Hurricane Henri approached the region, and the tropical storm at landfall dumped more than six inches of rain on the course. There was an additional four-hour delay Monday morning, and spectators were kept away from the event.

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement