It was gruesome to see.
Late Wednesday, Tony Finau was celebrating a hole-in-one on the sixth hole at the Masters Par Three contest. He ran toward the green in celebration then turned awkwardly to look back at his children.
X-rays showed nothing broken but the pain was awful. “On a scale of one to 10, it was a 10,” was how Finau described it. Still, an MRI was needed early Thursday to make sure no other damage occurred.
“No way on earth,” was how Finau described his chances of teeing it up on Thursday for the first round, his first ever appearance in the season’s first major. “The way I felt this morning wasn’t great. I had an MRI at 7 a.m.. After the MRI, I knew I was going to play. There was a lot put into it before the round,” he added. It appeared that he wore an ankle brace on the damaged left ankle.
He fought his way through it and made the turn three-under. “It felt good,” he said as the round progressed. “I think the pain helped me stay in the moment and just concentrate on each shot because of my foot. I did a pretty good job of masking that it happened.
Finau birdied the 13th to get to four-under but let a par slip away at the 14th when he missed an 18-inch putt. He fought back with a great drive at 15, hit his second over the green but recovered with a great chip to within two feet for birdie to get back to four-under. He made a nice par save from the back of the 17th then holed a nice 10-footer to save par at 18.
His 68 put him in a tie for second with Mat Kuchar, the pair just two back of leader Jordan Spieth.
Finau was all smiles considering what happened on Wednesday. “I was embarrassed,” he said looking back, “I didn’t want to get carried out on a stretch.”