The Washington Post

Finau’s risk pays off for share of the lead in Detroit


Tony Finau sent an approach from 250 yards soaring over trees and onto the seventh green at Detroit Golf Club, going for the reward and ignoring the risk with a difficult shot.

The way he has been playing over the past week, it made a lot of sense.

Finau, coming off his third career victory on the PGA Tour, and Taylor Pendrith shared the first-round lead at 8-under-par 64 on Thursday in the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

The pivotal shot on Finau’s 16th hole, a 560-yard par 5, set up a two-putt from 43 feet for one of his eight birdies.

“I had to get all of it to get it to the hole and hit it right in the middle of the green,” he said.

The leader board was filled with players who took advantage of favorable scoring conditions with morning tee times. In the afternoon, the wind picked up and the scores did as well.

Former U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, Michael Thompson, Cameron Champ, Lee Hodges and Matt Wallace were two shots back.

Si Woo Kim and Kurt Kitayama, both ranked among the top 70 in the world, were in the pack at 67.

Finau, who rallied from a fiveshot deficit with 11 holes left to win the 3M Open by three shots Sunday in Minnesota, opened with a birdie and had five birdies on his front nine.

Pendrith, a 31-year-old PGA Tour rookie, surged into a share of the lead with five birdies in a seven-hole stretch on his back nine.

LPGA TOUR: Rookie HyeJin Choi shot an 8-under 64 to take a one-shot lead at the Scottish Open on a day of low scoring on the Dundonald Links course in Ayrshire, Scotland.

Choi had seven birdies, one eagle and a bogey to tie her career-low round on the LPGA Tour.

Three players were tied for second with opening 65s. Lydia Ko went bogey-free for the 11th time this season in her fifth appearance at the Scottish Open.

Celine Boutier and Lilia Vu also shot 65s.

DP WORLD TOUR: Sean Crocker shot a course-record 9-under 63 to lead by one shot after the first round of the Hero Open in St. Andrews, Scotland.

It was the American’s lowest round on the European tour, featuring eight birdies and an eagle at the Fairmont St. Andrews — just up the road from the storied Old Course where the British Open was held two weeks ago.

Crocker went on a run of birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie from the third hole and had four birdies in five holes starting at No. 11.

Five players were in a tie for second place after rounds of 64: Romain Langasque of France, English pair Ben Stow and Ashley Chesters, Jens Dantorp of Sweden and Adrián Otaegui of Spain.

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