Rookie Tony Finau birdied five of his last 11 holes to shoot 5-under-par 65 and tie Bubba Watson, Spencer Levin and Camilo Villegas of Colombia after one round of the FedEx Cup playoffs opener, The Barclays, at Plainfield Country Club in Edison, N.J.
The 25-year-old Finau, whose only pro victory came in the 2014 Stonebrae Classic in Hayward on the Web.com Tour, birdied his first three holes before making three bogeys in a row, but started his finishing surge with birdies at Nos. 8 and 9.
“I got off to a good start, but then I made those three bogeys after missing the fairway,” said Finau, who is coming off a tie for 10th in the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. “I had to start giving myself some more chances and I’m happy with the way I finished.
“I’m feeling pretty good and I made some big strides with my game this season and I’m feeling confident.”
Watson, who has won twice this season and is third in the FedEx Cup standings, made five birdies on the front nine and was bogey-free until stumbling on the sixth and ninth holes while finishing on the front side.
Levin, from Elk Grove, had four birdies on the front nine and made his only bogey at No. 14, while Villegas started at No. 10 and a bogey-free 6-under until making his only bogey on the eighth hole.
Cameron Tringale of Laguna Niguel carded a bogey-free 66 and was tied for fifth with Paul Casey of England, Jason Dufner, Danny Lee of New Zealand and Russell Knox of Scotland.
PGA champion Jason Day of Australia, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Henrik Stenson of Sweden and Rickie Fowler of Murrieta opened with 68s and were in a tie for 18th.
Jordan Spieth, the FedEx Cup leader after winning four times this season including the Masters and U.S. Open, was 2-under after nine holes but made five bogeys and a double bogey coming home to shoot 74 to tie for 94th.