Tiger nearly comes up aces at Torrey Pines in return to PGA Tour

Tod Leonard, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Golf

"I've got to hit my irons a little better than I did today," Woods said. "I didn't hit them very close. I didn't give myself a lot of looks."

The birdies came smoothly. Woods hit the green on the par-5 sixth in two shots and missed by inches on his eagle putt. At the 10th, his wedge shot stopped 2 feet from the hole. And there was the near-ace at 16.

Finau is a 28-year-old from Utah who turned pro at 17 and then spent years grinding on smaller tours before making it to the major leagues in 2014-15. He won his first and only title in 2016 in the Puerto Rico Open.

He nearly won for a second time in October's Safeway Open in Napa, finishing second.

On Thursday, Finau birdied the first two holes on the North Course, added back-to-back birdies at Nos. 5 and 6, and made another birdie at 8. On the back nine, he birdied 10, 13, 16 and 18.

As one of the biggest hitters on tour -- Finau is a second in average distance this season at 329.8 -- he has considered the Torrey Pines courses a favorable playground. In three Farmers starts, he doesn't have a finish outside the top 25, and last year he tied for fourth.

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Finau said he relishes taking on the South Course next.

"The South Course sets up nicely for me with my length," he said. "It looks good to me. A lot of holes you can hit a fade, and I'm a fader of the ball. So I think probably a combo of those things off the tee and playing this golf course, I have some momentum."

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