From the first tournament of the season to the last, professional golfers are all battling each other for the grand prize on the PGA Tour: the FedEx Cup trophy. The winner of the TOUR Championship and the FedEx Cup Playoffs also receives a potentially life-changing $15 million.
After his impressive win at the Northern Trust, Tony Finau just jumped into the top spot in the FedEx Cup standings and now sits in the driver’s seat for what would be the biggest payday of his career.
Tony Finau wins the Northern Trust
Finau has become known as one of the best players on the PGA Tour who simply doesn’t know how to win. He’s recorded 39 top-10 finishes in the past five seasons, but he hasn’t been able to lift a single trophy over that span.
That finally changed on Monday, as Finau outdueled Australian Cameron Smith in a playoff to win the Northern Trust at 20-under par. He shot a final-round 65 to catch the leaders by the end of the day, and all he needed was a par on the first playoff hole after Smith hit his drive out of bounds.
Finau, who’s had his fair share of final-round blowups over the last few seasons, went birdie-eagle-birdie on the back nine at Liberty National to take the outright lead, and he was able to hold on for his first win in nearly 2,000 days.
And what a time to finally break that streak.
Finau jumps in the driver’s seat on the road toward a $15 million payday
Finau entered the FedEx Cup Playoffs in the No. 23 spot in the standings, so he knew he needed three strong performances in the postseason to have a chance at the PGA Tour’s ultimate prize. Well, he couldn’t have started the playoffs any better.
After his first win since 2016, Finau jumped Collin Morikawa to take the No. 1 spot in the standings. He’ll enter next weekend’s BMW Championship at Caves Valley as the new man to beat as the postseason widdles down to just 70 players. The top 30 after the BMW Championship will move on to the TOUR Championship at East Lake the following weekend.
If Finau can hold on to his No. 1 ranking for one more week, he’ll enter the season finale with a decisive advantage over the rest of the field on the road to $15 million.
The importance of holding on to the No. 1 spot in the FedEx Cup standings
Finau will only have two full days to celebrate his first PGA Tour win in five years, but he better be able to regain his focus in time for the first round of the BMW Championship on Thursday. In the newest version of the playoff system, the No. 1 seed in the standings has a major advantage over the other 29 players in the TOUR Championship field.
The No. 1 seed after the BMW will start the TOUR Championship at 10-under par, while the No. 2 player starts at 8-under, the No. 3 player starts at 7-under, and so on. Only four players will be within five strokes of the leader entering the season finale. Last year, Dustin Johnson started in the No. 1 spot and went on to win by three strokes.
Finau might be in the driver’s seat as it stands today, but he still has plenty of work left to do if he wants to win the race toward that $15 million check.