If Finau was hurting, he didn’t show it.
Tony Finau nearly had his 2018 Masters hopes squashed by one of the goofiest injuries in golf’s history. Instead, he was playing with the leaders through the first half of the storied tournament’s opening day — and the event’s sole leader for a brief moment during his back nine.
Finau dislocated his ankle Wednesday while celebrating a hole-in-one during the Masters’ traditional Par 3 competition. While he was able to pop his ankle back into place and walk off the injury, his status for Thursday’s start was up in the air until an early morning MRI cleared him of any serious problems.
Good grief, Tony Finau wrecked his ankle celebrating a hole in one pic.twitter.com/8o7JxVi3xQ— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) April 4, 2018
Doctors told Finau playing in the tournament wouldn’t damage the ankle any more than it already was, and he was cleared to play. His first start at the Masters’ was a good one, too; his 3-under score through nine holes put him in an three-way tie for second place and just one shot off Charlie Hoffman’s lead. There’s still a lot of golf — and a lot of walking to go — but Finau has to be happy with his performance so far.
UPDATE: A birdie on the 13th hole has pushed Finau into first place. The bum ankle hasn’t yet impacted his play — but it is affecting the way he walks. The Utahan finished the hole with a minor, but noticeable limp as he walked to the 14th tee.
A bogey on the 14th hole knocked him into a tie for first, then relegated him to second place after Haotong Li’s back-to-back birdies pushed the Chinese debutant into day one’s top position. Finau then birdied the 15th to claim his spot atop the leaderboard, though he wasn’t alone.
Impressively, Finau was able to hold his lead when he finished his round on 18. On his second shot, he hit into the patrons, but he was able to save it with a beautiful par putt. Jordan Spieth shares the lead with Finau at 4-under.