Tony Finau shoots stunning 62 to seize lead at Phoenix Open

American leads by a stroke from Webb Simpson heading into Sunday’s final round

Tony Finau picked up five strokes on the back nine and grabbed a one-shot lead over Webb Simpson, who celebrated a hole in one, in the third round of the Phoenix Open on Saturday.

Finau, a big fan of the late Kobe Bryant, dropped in three birdies and an eagle in five holes to shoot a sizzling nine-under 62 under crystal blue skies to go to 16-under 197 in his bid for a second PGA Tour win.

“I gave myself a lot of looks and I was able to capitalise on those looks, “ Finau, who had four birdies on the front nine before the key run between the 12th and 16th holes that included an eagle at the par-five 13th, told PGA Tour Radio.

He also had a birdie at the 16th hole while wearing his Bryant Lakers jersey and narrowly missed another at the 17th in a bogey free round.

“I had a perfect number for a sand wedge and go ahead and fire right at the pin,” Finau told CBS Television.

“Damn near made it. That would have been pretty sweet with the Kobe jersey on. But I like that shot. That was pretty nice.”

Simpson, whose ace came at the 12th, stood deadlocked with Finau until a bogey at the 17th left him at seven-under 64 for the day.

“Kind of made a disaster of it,” Simpson said of his play at 17, “but to shoot even par in round one and have a chance to win tomorrow, that’s just icing on the cake.”

He called the hole-in-one “a perfect seven iron, 180 yards” that he didn’t see drop.

Simpson also had a bogey on seven to go with seven birdies and the ace.

Second round leader J.B. Holmes (70) and fellow American Hudson Swafford (66) were tied for third at 14-under 199 with Xander Schauffele (66), Adam Long (66) and Scott Piercy (68) a stroke back.

Holmes, who was one stroke ahead of Wyndham Clark after Friday’s play, finally righted himself after an up-and-down round. He skied to one over for the day after his third bogey at the 12th but collected birdies at the 14th and 15th that left him the hunt.

Clark fell seven shots off the pace after a three-over 74 that included four bogeys and a birdie.

Collated third round scores & totals in the USPGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open (USA unless stated, par 71):

197 Tony Finau 69 66 62

198 Webb Simpson 71 63 64

199 J.B. Holmes 64 65 70, Hudson Swafford 66 67 66

200 Xander Schauffele 67 67 66, Adam Long 66 68 66, Scott Piercy 67 65 68

201 Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 65 66 70, Mark Hubbard 69 68 64

202 Nate Lashley 66 67 69

203 Luke List 70 69 64, Max Homa 72 67 64, Jon Rahm (Spa) 67 68 68, John Huh 71 66 66, Tom Hoge 65 71 67

204 Wyndham Clark 61 69 74, Branden Grace (Rsa) 67 67 70, Collin Morikawa 69 67 68, Billy Horschel 63 68 73, Bubba Watson 69 66 69

205 Justin Thomas 68 68 69, Brandon Hagy 67 69 69, James Hahn 69 67 69, Keith Mitchell 68 67 70, Matt Kuchar 68 70 67, Russell Knox (Sco) 71 67 67, Harris English 65 72 68

206 Daniel Berger 69 71 66, Danny Lee (Nzl) 68 69 69, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 67 74 65, Harry Higgs 70 68 68, Gary Woodland 70 67 69, Patrick Rodgers 67 69 70, Brian Harman 71 68 67, Sungjae Im (Kor) 66 72 68

207 Doc Redman 69 67 71, Bud Cauley 65 72 70, Carlos Ortiz (Mex) 71 69 67, Kevin Tway 72 67 68

208 Keegan Bradley 67 70 71, Charley Hoffman 71 70 67, Sung Kang (Kor) 67 72 69, Adam Hadwin (Can) 69 67 72, Rickie Fowler 74 65 69

209 JT Poston 70 68 71, Xinjun Zhang (Chn) 69 72 68, Jimmy Walker 69 71 69, Bryson DeChambeau 70 69 70, J.J. Spaun 70 71 68, Chesson Hadley 73 68 68

210 Aaron Baddeley (Aus) 68 70 72, Talor Gooch 68 73 69, Andrew Landry 69 72 69, Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai) 69 66 75, Sebastian Munoz (Col) 70 71 69

211 Grayson Murray 70 68 73, Sam Ryder 71 66 74, Nick Taylor (Can) 70 70 71, Brice Garnett 72 67 72, Corey Conners (Can) 71 69 71

212 Martin Laird (Sco) 72 67 73, Kyung Ju Choi (Kor) 66 75 71

213 Denny McCarthy 71 70 72, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 71 70 72

214 Joel Dahmen 70 71 73

215 Patton Kizzire 70 71 74

217 Beau Hossler 68 72 77