This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Sandy • Tony Finau could just about secure a PGA Tour card for next season with a big finish Sunday in the Utah Championship at Willow Creek Country Club.
Zac Blair might become the Web.com Tour's best story of the summer.
With apologies to Andres Gonzales, who's positioned to take all the drama out of the final round, the two Utahns are conspiring to stir local interest like never before in this tournament. Finau and Blair are unlikely to catch Gonzales, but they can make career-altering moves Sunday.
First, the formalities: With a 6-under-par 65 in Saturday's third round, Gonzales pushed his total to 19 under and his lead to four strokes over the closest pursuer, Aaron Goldberg. That information comes as news to Gonzales, a native of Olympia, Wash., who's doing his best not to be impressed with his work in relation to the field. "I haven't looked at a leaderboard all week," he said. "I'm just trying to put up some numbers."
That's required in the Utah Championship, with the tournament record of 22 under seemingly always being threatened.
Numbers are vital to Finau and Blair, and so are dollars mostly because money is the means of keeping score in professional golf. The two former State Amateur champions are tied for sixth and ninth, respectively, setting up some intriguing business Sunday.
Finau is No. 22 on the Web.com Tour's money list. Even a second-place finish at Willow Creek would probably clinch top-25 status for the season and send him to the PGA Tour in October. Blair is playing only his second tournament of the year, thanks to his conditional status, and nobody in the game is taking better advantage of limited opportunities.
Finau started slowly Saturday, playing the front nine in 1 over par. The West High School product birdied the next four holes and parred in, leaving birdie putts on the edges of the last two holes to finish with a 68 and a 13-under total.
"I knew I had to make a move, so I was a little bit more aggressive coming to the back nine," Finau said. "I was able to make some birdies when I really needed it, just to get back in it."
His comeback trumped any disappointment about missed opportunities at the end. "Those would have been huge bonuses ... but I have an opportunity to make a move tomorrow, so that's all I can ask for," he said.
Blair's wish list is longer and more complex. His first priority is a top-25 finish, giving him a spot in the next tour event in Boise. A top-10 performance would launch him toward No. 75 on the money list and a potential berth in the four-event Web.com Tour finals in late August another avenue to the PGA Tour.
The former Fremont High and BYU golfer is doing some amazing things this month, after having played the first half of PGA Tour Latinoamerica's split season. Blair birdied four of the first five holes Saturday and posted a 66 for a 12-under total, even with a three-putt bogey on No. 18.
As for what's at stake Sunday, Blair said, "If you play good, you'll kind of take care of any possibility that is out there," Blair said. "So I've got to go play another solid 18 holes and figure it out after that."
Another Utah Junior Golf Association alumnus, Orem native Scott Pinckney, is tied for 28th after shooting a 70. Starting times
Sunday's starting times in the Web.com Tour's Utah Championship at Willow Creek Country Club:
10 a.m. - Ryan Blaum, Peter Lonard.
10:10 a.m - Martin Piller, Brad Elder.
10:20 a.m. - Matt Weibring, Jeff Klauk.
10:30 a.m. - Sam Saunders, Alistair Presnell.
10:40 a.m. - Skip Kendall, Colt Knost.
10:50 a.m. - Mark Hubbard, Matt Davidson.
11 a.m. - Kevin Kim, Steve Saunders.
11:10 a.m. - Bill Lunde, Ryan Spears.
11:20 a.m. - Harold Varner III, Scott Parel.
11:30 a.m. - Max Homa, Luke List.
11:40 a.m. - Roger Sloan, Casey Clendenon.
11:50 a.m. - Vaughn Taylor, Cliff Kresge.
Noon - Fabian Gomez, Whee Kim.
12:10 p.m. - Andrew Putnam, Camilo Benedetti.
12:20 p.m. - Blayne Barber, Brad Schneider.
12:30 p.m. - Scott Pinckney, Ben Kohles.
12:40 p.m. - Paul Peterson, Carlos Ortiz.
12:50 p.m. - Shane Bertsch, Zack Fischer.
1 p.m. - Steve Wheatcroft, Chris Baker.
1:10 p.m. - Kevin Lucas, Byron Smith.
1:20 p.m. - Jerod Turner, Nicholas Lindheim.
1:30 p.m. - Justin Shin, Jimmy Gunn.
1:40 p.m. - Chase Wright, Vince India.
1:50 p.m. - Jason Gore, Scott Piercy.
2 p.m - Brett Stegmaier, John Mallinger.
2:10 p.m. - Steve Allan, Adam Crawford.
2:20 p.m. - Zac Blair, Kelly Kraft.
2:30 p.m. - Jonathan Fricke, Alexandre Rocha.
2:40 p.m. - Tony Finau, Jose Toledo.
2:50 p.m. - Sung Kang, Bhavik Patel.
3 p.m. - Jeff Curl, Travis Bertoni.
3:10 p.m. - Andres Gonzales, Aaron Goldberg.
At Willow Creek Country Club
Purse • $625,000
Yardage • 6,953; Par • 71
Andres Gonzales 62-67-65 194
Aaron Goldberg 67-67-64 198
Jeff Curl 69-67-63 199
Travis Bertoni 68-63-68 199
Sung Kang 67-65-67 199
Bhavik Patel 66-66-68 200
Tony Finau 65-67-68 200
Jose Toledo 66-66-68 200
Jonathan Fricke 71-66-64 201
Alexandre Rocha 67-69-65 201
Zac Blair 68-67-66 201
Kelly Kraft 67-68-66 201
Steve Allan 69-65-67 201
Adam Crawford 71-61-69 201
Brett Stegmaier 69-67-66 202
John Mallinger 69-66-67 202
Jason Gore 66-69-67 202
Scott Piercy 68-69-66 203
Chase Wright 68-68-67 203
Vince India 66-70-67 203
Justin Shin 66-70-67 203
Jimmy Gunn 68-68-67 203
Jerod Turner 69-66-68 203
Nicholas Lindheim 67-68-68 203
Kevin Lucas 67-67-69 203
Byron Smith 67-66-70 203
Steve Wheatcroft 65-66-72 203
Chris Baker 70-67-67 204
Shane Bertsch 69-68-67 204
Zack Fischer 69-68-67 204
Paul Peterson 65-71-68 204
Carlos Ortiz 67-68-69 204
Scott Pinckney 69-65-70 204
Ben Kohles 66-67-71 204
Blayne Barber 68-65-71 204
Brad Schneider 70-67-68 205
Andrew Putnam 73-64-68 205
Camilo Benedetti 69-68-68 205
Fabian Gomez 70-67-68 205
Whee Kim 71-65-69 205
Vaughn Taylor 69-66-70 205
Cliff Kresge 67-67-71 205
Roger Sloan 67-67-71 205
Casey Clendenon 67-70-69 206
Max Homa 69-68-69 206
Luke List 68-69-69 206
Harold Varner III 71-65-70 206
Scott Parel 68-67-71 206
Bill Lunde 67-67-72 206
Ryan Spears 68-65-73 206
Kevin Kim 68-65-73 206
Steve Saunders 70-67-70 207
Mark Hubbard 68-68-71 207
Matt Davidson 70-66-71 207
Skip Kendall 65-69-73 207
Colt Knost 68-65-74 207
Sam Saunders 67-70-71 208
Alistair Presnell 67-67-74 208
Matt Weibring 70-67-72 209
Jeff Klauk 68-69-72 209
Martin Piller 66-70-73 209
Brad Elder 68-68-73 209
Ryan Blaum 70-67-74 211
Peter Lonard 69-68-74 211