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AP photo by Carlos Osorio / Tony Finau reacts after making his putt for par on the ninth green during the final round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Sunday at Detroit Golf Club.

DETROIT — Tony Finau has changed the conversation about him in less than a  year.

The 32-year-old American ran away with the Rocket Mortgage Classic on Sunday at Detroit Golf Club to become the first player in three years to win consecutive PGA Tour events in the regular season. He closed with a 5-under-par 67 for a five-shot victory and a tournament-record 26-under 262 total in the 72-hole event.

It was his fourth career victory and third title in 11-plus months. Finau began his stretch of success last August at the Northern Trust, where he had his first victory in five years and 142 PGA Tour starts.

"I'm proud of the way I've fought through adversity in my career," said Finau, a Salt Lake City native with Tongan-Samoan heritage. "They say a winner is just a loser who kept trying, and that's me."

Finau ended a drought in Detroit, winning for the first time in six attempts when he had or shared the 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour event. And he did it easily.

Taylor Pendrith (72), Patrick Cantlay (66) and rookie of the year front-runner Cameron Young (68) tied for a distant second. Chattanooga's Stephan Jaeger (68) was next on the list at 20 under, with the fifth-place finish eclipsing his tie for sixth at the Wells Fargo Championship in May for his best result this season.

"I wasn't that close," Young said. "Tony put on a show."

He sure did. Finau and Pendrith, a 31-year-old rookie from Canada, started Sunday tied after a third round that seemed like match play, but a potential Detroit duel turned into a dud.

Finau hit 66 of 72 greens in regulation, trailing the accuracy of just two players since 1980 in a PGA Tour 72-hole event. Peter Jacobsen hit 69 greens in regulation at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 1995, and a year later, Willie Wood hit 67 at the Sanderson Farms Championship.

With Finau's sixth birdie at No. 17 and a closing par, he broke Nate Lashley's tournament record of 25 under set in 2019 during the inaugural edition of this PGA Tour event.

The PGA Tour will close the regular season at the Wyndham Championship, with the event opening Thursday in Greensboro, North Carolina. Players on the bubble will have one last shot to finish in the top 125 of the FedEx Cup standings to earn a spot in the playoffs and a full card next season.

Jaeger moved up 29 spots to 100 with Sunday's result, which earned a paycheck of $344,400.

 

Stenson is LIV winner at Bedminster

BEDMINSTER, N.J. — Henrik Stenson's decision that cost him the Ryder Cup captaincy for Europe paid large and immediate dividends when he won the LIV Golf Invitational at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster and picked up more than $4 million for three days' work.

Staked to a three-shot lead going into the third and final round, the 46-year-old Swede opened with a 20-foot birdie putt and never let anyone closer than two shots the rest of the way in the 54-hole tournament.

He closed with a 2-under 69 for a two-shot victory at 11-under 202 over Matthew Wolf (64) and Dustin Johnson, who birdied the last hole for a 68. Stenson picked up $4 million for winning and an additional $375,000 for his team finishing second.

The big payoff — not including a signing bonus reported to be about $50 million — came less than two weeks after the 2016 British Open champion decided to join the Saudi-funded LIV tour.

Stenson had pledged full support to the Europe-based DP World Tour when he became Ryder Cup captain in March, but the tour stripped him of the job four months later when he changed his mind.

"I guess we can agree I played like a captain," Stenson said on the LIV Golf telecast.

 

Crocker is a hero in the end

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — American player Sean Crocker held off a spirited challenge from England's Eddie Pepperell to earn his first DP World Tour win with a wire-to-wire victory in the Hero Open.

Crocker closed with a 68 at Fairmont St. Andrews to finish at 22-under 266 and a shot ahead of Pepperell, who had piled on the pressure with a closing 65.

"It's pretty cool, but man, winning a golf tournament is not easy and Eddie did not make that easy for me either," Crocker, 25, told Sky Sports after crucial par saves on the last two holes sealed the win.

Asked how he felt standing over a four-foot putt to win on the 18th, Crocker — who missed nine cuts in a row earlier this season — added: "Nervous as hell.

"I've felt pressure like that before but it's my first pro tournament (win), so that putt looked like it was 20 feet and that hole looked like it was half an inch wide, but right off the face I knew it was a well-struck putt and as I looked up and saw it drop I was just telling myself 'Don't start crying'."

Crocker, who was born in Zimbabwe and raised in California, lost his two-shot overnight lead early in the final round as Pepperell and Denmark's Oliver Hundeboll both made flying starts, but a birdie on the sixth and three more in four holes from the 10th restored his advantage before Pepperell's birdie on the 18th set up the nervous finish.

 

Furue's furious rally wins in Scotland

RVINE, Scotland — Ayaka Furue of Japan ran off six straight birdies in the middle of her round and rallied from a four-shot deficit with a 10-under 62 to win the Women's Scottish Open for her first LPGA Tour title.

A seven-time winner on the Japan LPGA — once as an amateur — Furue became the second rookie to win on the LPGA Tour this year, and she did it in style at Dundonald Links.

After starting the final round four shots behind Celine Boutier of France, the 22-year-old finished the front nine with four straight birdies and added two more to start the back nine. She never let up, playing bogey-free golf to win by three at 21-under 267.

"I was four shots back. I thought it would be difficult to catch the top, good players. But I'm very happy I played good golf and I was able to come out as a winner," Furue said. "I had the right mindset. I thought I had to go low, and I played very well."

Boutier was still in good shape until making three bogeys on the back nine for a 69.

Furue will try to carry some momentum into the final major of the year this week in the Women's British Open.

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