As debuts go Tiny Finau’s was spectacular. Spectacularly brilliant in places and spectacularly lucky, by his own admission, in others.
Finau and Brooks Koepka were never ahead until they shook hands with Justin Rose and Jon Rahm at the 18th with Europe ahead after the World No. 2 hit it pretty stiff at the 1st. Twelve holes in and the hosts were two up.
With three holes to play the lead had been halved and then this happened…
— PGA of America (@PGA) September 28, 2018
At best it looked destined for the sand, as it turned out it hit the bleachers to present the debutant with the chances to make a second 2, the first coming with a chip-in eagle at the 6th.
“I know it needed to get up. I saw it rise. It’s an elevated tee shot, and when you’re hitting into the wind and you’re already hitting higher than where the green is, so into the wind, you’ve got to hit a knock-down shot, and my knock-down shot rose. Even though the line looked great, I hit a great shot; I knew it needed to get up,” explained Finau.
“I’m sure in my head I’m thinking go; in Brooks’ head we’re thinking go; my caddies were thinking go. And to see it bounce and get a fortunate bounce and go to four feet was a huge momentum changer in the group. That was a huge turning point. Sometimes you get the bounces. Sometimes you don’t. It’s pretty obvious, we got the right bounce at the right time in our first match, and it went a long ways in helping us win the match.”
Come the final hole Rose overshot the green to end up wet, Finau and Koepka found both the fairway and then green, and Rahm was unable to pitch and putt to avoid the defeat.