Defending Champion Finau Shoots 62, Leads 76th Houston Open by 2 Shots


Tony Finau might be in the process of repeating himself.

Finau, the defending champion, tied the course record by shooting eight-under-par 62 to take a two-stroke lead over Alejandro Tosti of Argentia midway through the 76th Texas Children’s Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston.

When he won this event in November of 2022, Finau also carded a 62 in round two.

“Spin numbers have been really high and it’s been enough time to where after last week, I was just kind of fed up,” said Finau, who using a new driver shaft this week. “I was like, ‘Alright, it’s time to make a change with the driver.’ We looked at shafts and I threw this one in and I’d say it was a nice change.

“The shaft’s a little bit less tip stiff than my other shaft. I felt like with the way I’m kind of dragging the club a little bit more because of how much speed I have, I think it’s been helpful.

“I think my 62 the last time fall was actually better. The golf course can yield some birdies here from the rough because the rough’s so much shorter. Yeah, I think my other 62 was a little more impressive just in that you had to hit the fairway. When you’re playing Bermuda grass, hitting out of rough is just ridiculous. I think when I shot 62, I hit 14 out of 14 fairways and that was quite impressive.

“But 62 is good any time of the year and I’ll take the one today.”

The 34-year-old Finau, who has won six times on the PGA Tour, highlighted his round with a 40-foot chip-in on the eighth hole and made seven birdies while recording a 36-hole score of nine-under-par 131.

Tosti, who has won four times as a professional but not yet on the PGA Tour, sank a 31-foot putt for his fifth birdie in a 67, while Thomas Detry of Belgium is three shots back in solo third after collecting seven birdies in a 64.

Top-ranked Scottie Scheffler, who won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players Championship is his last two starts, three-putted the final hole for a 70 and is four down in a tie for fourth with first-round co-leader Taylor Moore, who  made only two birdies in a 71; Akshay Bhatia of Northridge, who sank a four-foot eagle putt at No. 16 in a 68; Joe Highsmith of Stanford, who holed out from 102 yards on the fifth hole in a 70; Stephan Jaeger of Germany, who had three birdies on each nine in a 66, and Chad Ramey, who made four birdies on the front nine in another 66.

“No, yeah, it was a frustrating lapse in judgment there,” said Scheffler, who missed a putt of under two feet on the final hole. “You never really know what’s going to be up there around the cup on 18. Yeah, just hit something and knocked the second one offline.

“I felt like I hit a good putt on the first one, maybe it went just barely through the break, so obviously it was a bit frustrating hitting a good putt and it not going in. The second one, I guess just hit a little fast and didn’t see a spike mark there.”

Max Greyserman made a late birdie in a 69 and is five strokes behind in a tie for 10th with David Skinns of England, who made only one bogey in a 69, Aaron Rai of England, who had two birdies and two bogeys in a 70, and Davis Riley, who double-bogeyed the first hole en route to a 65.

Fourth-ranked Wyndham Clark, the reigning U.S. Open champion, made four birdies on the front nine and is tied for 20th after a 68, while first-round co-leader Wilson Furr struggled to a 75 and is tied for 28th, and Peter Malnati, who won the Valspar Championship last week, shot 73 and made the cut on the number in a tie for 61st.

Scott Stallings, who opened with a 71, withdrew because of a left shoulder injury when he was three-over-par through 11 holes in the second round.

For complete results and third-round tee times, visit:

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