Tony Finau Wins First FedEx Cup Playoff Event of 2021
Jersey City, N.J. – Tony Finau (-20) outlasted the weather and the rest of the field to claim the title at the Northern Trust. Forced to delay the final round a full day after heavy storms battered the east coast on Sunday, players went out in threesomes off split tees late Monday morning. Finau beat Cameron Smith in a playoff. It was Finau’s first win since the 2016 Puerto Rico Open.
The Northern Trust marked the first leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs. With the top 125 players in the points standings starting the week, the field will be whittled down to the top 70 in the FedEx Cup points standings for next week’s tournament.
Entering the final round, Smith and Jon Rahm were tied for the lead at -16, with Erik Van Rooyen one behind them at -15. Justin Thomas and Finau were one behind Van Rooyen at -14.
Tony Finau shot 65 to take the clubhouse lead with Smith playing 18 behind him at -20 and Rahm at -19. While Rahm made a bogey at the last to finish in solo third at -18, Smith made par to force a playoff with Finau. Smith hit his tee shot out of play on the first playoff hole and Finau played safe to win with par.
Van Rooyen will likely be disappointed in his final round 72, which saw him end at solo seventh at -14, exactly where he started the day. But he will be happy that his performance was good enough to take him from 76th place in the points standings at the beginning of the week to 45th heading into next week.
Some of the other players who were able to improve their standing considerably or put themselves inside the top 70 were Alex Noren and Tom Hoge, who started the week at 91 and 108, respectively, and ended up at 43 and 48 after finishing T4 at-15; Keith Mitchell, who finished T8 at -13 and jumped 38 spots from 101 to 63; Harold Varner III Harry Higgs finished T11 and T16, respectively, and both snuck inside the top 70. Phil Mickelson was the last man in.
Among those who missed out on making the top 70 included Bubba Watson, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrrell Hatton, Jason Day, and Matthew Wolff.
Next week is the BMW Championship at Caves Valley GC in Maryland. Jon Rahm is the defending champ there. Rahm made headlines this week by criticizing the FedEx Cup playoff format. He argued that a two stroke lead in the Tour Championship at East Lake is not an adequate reward for being in the top spot at the end of a season-long points race, particularly given the huge purse for the winner.
Tony Finau What’s In The Bag
Driver: Ping G425 LST 9° (Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 70 TX)
3 Wood: Ping G400 Stretch 13° (Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX)
Putter: Piretti Elite Custom