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NASSAU, Bahamas – When Brooks Koepka notified his Presidents Cup teammates that he wouldn’t be making the trip to Royal Melbourne because of a left-knee injury, arguably no player was more bummed than Tony Finau.
Finau teamed with Koepka to go 1-1 in fourballs last year at the Ryder Cup, his debut in team competition for the U.S., and was already looking forward to reuniting with the world No. 1 in Australia.
“I’ve got some good friends on the team, some great options, and obviously I feel like I can play with any of the 11 guys, but it was pretty bitter for me when Brooks told me he was going to pull out,” Finau said Thursday at the Hero World Challenge, where he is among 11 U.S. team members playing. “We had a good run last year and once we got picked, we talked about playing again and we expressed that to the captain. But now that he pulled out, it’s not going to happen.”
Finau was paired with Koepka’s replacement, Rickie Fowler, in Wednesday’s opening round at Albany. He shot 7-over 79, a continuation of a poor fall in which he’s finished outside the top 50 in three straight events entering the Bahamas.
“The only place I could go after yesterday was up,” Finau said. “It was one of those rounds where I was actually laughing after the round about how many tough breaks I had. … One of those rounds where you have absolutely no idea what happened.”
A day later, Finau turned things around in a big way. He made just one bogey, on the par-4 finishing hole, but also carded five birdies to rebound with a second-round 68.
“No doubt that was big,” Finau said. “I need a couple good ones before next week just to make sure my confidence is high enough.”