Late rally lets Finau keep 3-shot lead in Shanghai
Tony Finau struggled for so much of Saturday in the HSBC Champions that he was hopeful of a strong finish to carry some momentum into the final round.
He got much more than he imagined.
Finau closed with three straight birdies for a 2under 70 and kept his three-shot lead because of a late collapse by Justin Rose, who played the final two holes in five more shots than Finau required.
“There was no need to panic,” Finau said. “Just play some good golf coming down the stretch, and I was able to do that.”
Finau was at 13-under 203 and led by three over Justin Rose, Masters champion Patrick Reed and Xander Schauffele.
Finau was on the verge of falling three shots behind on the 16th hole after Rose had pitched to within 3 feet for a birdie, and Finau hit wedge that came up well short. He rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt from off the green to stay within two shots, hit a tee shot that rolled to within 18 inches of the cup for a short birdie on the par-3 17th, and then holed a 12foot birdie putt on the 18th.
Rose wasted a great round with a sloppy finish and had to settle for a 70.
He was two shots ahead going to the 17th when his tee shot went off the side of a hill and into a hazard, leading to double bogey. Then, his 4-iron to the par-5 18th was too far right and tumbled down the hill and into the water. He had a chance to save par until missing a 4-foot putt.
“Three back going into tomorrow, which is not exactly how it looked like it was going to be with a couple holes to play,” Rose said. “There are three guys at 10 under who are all going to be chasing pretty hard, but nothing to lose tomorrow. It’s going to take a good round. I’m playing well, feeling good. Just got to put that last couple holes behind me and come out a little bit angry tomorrow.”
Reed didn’t make a par over the last six holes, with four birdies and two bogeys. He missed a 15-foot eagle chance on the reachable par-4 16th, and then peeled his tee shot to the right down the slope into the hazard on the 17th to make bogey. A short birdie on the 18th gave him a 70.
But the real collapse came from Rose, who had led since a short birdie on the seventh hole and appeared to be in complete control of his game.
And then it was gone.
Tony Finau lines up his shot during Saturday’s third round of the HSBC Champions tournament.