PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Tony Finau will be playing a tournament in two weeks. He just doesn’t know where yet.
Finau earned his maiden PGA Tour victory at last year’s Puerto Rico Open, and he would relish an opportunity to go back and defend a title for the first time on Tour. But that event is played against the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship, and Finau still has one last chance to crack that elite field.
He enters the Valspar Championship ranked No. 77 in the world, and the top 64 players after this week’s event will be guaranteed spots in the March 22-26 bracket.
“I think it’s a pretty cool scenario, to be honest,” Finau said. “I don’t know how many times in my career I’ll be in this scenario where it’s kind of a win-win.”
The match play bubble will likely extend beyond No. 64, given that Henrik Stenson has announced plans to skip the tournament and Adam Scott and Justin Rose are both also expected to sit out.
Finau is hardly alone among the bubble boys chasing a last-minute match play berth. A total of 10 players ranked between Nos. 65-80 in the world are teeing it up this week at Innisbrook, including Charles Howell III, Jason Dufner and Billy Horschel.
Finau has never played in a WGC event before, and while he would enjoy returning to the Isle of Enchantment, he’d much rather book a flight to Austin.
“I’d love to be playing in the match play,” he said. “I have a good match play record, being a state amateur champ in Utah, and I just enjoy that style of golf. I’d love to get there, and I have an opportunity this week.”