PGA Tour

Finau leads Farmers Insurance Open

Tony Finau (AFP)
Tony Finau (AFP)

La Jolla - Tiger Woods stole the show on Torrey Pines South Course on Thursday, but it was Tony Finau who seized the first-round lead in the Farmers Insurance Open. 

Finau, chasing a second US PGA Tour title to go with the Puerto Rico Open crown he won in 2016, rolled in a long birdie putt on the 18th hole of the North Course to take sole possession of the lead on seven-under-par 65. 

He was a stroke in front of Ryan Palmer and Ted Potter Jr., and perfectly poised to continue a history of success at Torrey Pines, where Finau has finished in the top 25 in three prior appearances, including last year's tie for fourth. 

"We kind of did our thing on the North," said Finau, whose closing birdie came as Woods was wrapping up an even-par 72 in his much anticipated first round on the US PGA Tour since missing the cut here last year. 

Finau finished the day with nine birdies, five of them in his first eight holes. 

Although the North Course is traditionally considered the more forgiving of the two layouts, Finau said he was looking forward to tackling the South on Friday. 

"The South sets up nicely for me with my length," he said. "I think length is a big advantage on the South specifically, so I've been able to put some good rounds together there. 

"A lot of the holes you can hit a fade," he added, "and I'm a fader of the ball." 

Finau opened his round with back-to-back birdies. After a bogey at the fourth he bagged another brace at five and six before a birdie at eight. 

He had four more birdies and a bogey coming in, and said his hot start took the pressure off in the tougher stretches.

"The meat of the golf course is in the middle of the course where you really have to get after it," he said. "Five through 11 you've really got to score. I got some numbers before that, so I was able to kind of cruise through those holes and pick up a couple more.

"So I am really pleased with the way I played today."

Leading first-round scores on Thursday in the PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open on the North and South courses at Torrey Pines (USA unless noted; par-72)

65 - Tony Finau

66 - Ted Potter Jr., Ryan Palmer

68 - Hunter Mahan, Francesco Molinari (ITA), Julian Suri, Peter Uihlein, Tom Lovelady, Rory Sabbatini (RSA), Jon Rahm (ESP), Bae Sang-moon (KOR), Grayson Murray, Patrick Reed, Roberto Diaz (MEX)

69 - Robert Garrigus, Danny Lee (NZL), John Huh, Matt Every, Matt Jones (AUS), Nick Watney, Russell Knox (SCO), Patrick Cantlay, Charles Howell, Shane Lowry (IRL), K.J. Choi (KOR), Justin Rose (ENG), Brice Garnett, Seamus Power (IRL), Michael Kim, Luke List, Jhonattan Vegas (VEN), Bill Haas, Andrew Putnam, Ben Silverman (CAN)

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