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05th Apr 2018

Tony Finau, your new favourite golfer, was the story of the day once again at Augusta

Matthew Gault

Tony Finau

Say hello to your new favourite golfer.

The Masters always generates stories. This year, we have a real doozy on our hands as Tony Finau is right in contention after the opening round at Augusta, 24 hours after dislocating his ankle during the par 3 contest.

Finau’s participation during Thursday’s opening round was plunged into doubt when he went over on his ankle while celebrating making a hole-in-one during the traditional curtain raiser.

However, after getting the all-clear following an MRI scan, the 28-year-old made sure he capitalised on a tremendous slice of good fortune.

Finau stormed into contention after posting a spectacular run of four birdies between the second and ninth holes after opening with a bogey to turn in 33. He picked up further birdies on the two par-5s on the back nine, the 13 and 15th, either side of a dropped shot at 14 to leave him at -4. From there, Finau battled commendably, sinking impressive putts for par at 17 and 18 to ensure he stayed atop the leaderboard.

When he finished, Finau was looking down on Henrik Stenson, Adam Hadwin, Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman, who all carded 69s.

Also in that group on -3 is China’s Li Haotong. The 22-year-old prodigy, who edged out Rory McIlroy at the Dubai Desert Classic earlier this year, skipped to the turn in a respectable 35 before he caught fire. After bogeying 10, Li posted a hat-trick of birdies around Amen Corner, making light work of the course’s most daunting stretch.

His momentum was momentarily stalled with a 5 at the par-4 14th, before bouncing back with another two birdies at 15 and 16.

Li signed for an impressive 69, after finishing with a dropped shot.

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