‘Drive for show, putt for dough,’ goes one of golf’s oldest sayings.
That mantra certainly applied to both Tony Finau and Xander Schauffele, who collectively, could not find any rhythm on the greens during Saturday’s final round of the Farmers Insurance Open.
“I consider myself a good putter, but boy, was it rough this week for me,” Schauffele said.
“Unfortunately, sometimes they go in, and sometimes they don’t,” Finau quipped.
Schauffele lost almost three strokes to the field on the greens this week, ranking 73rd in strokes gained putting. Finau, meanwhile, was 72nd in this same metric.
Only 79 players made the cut.
“I hit some really good putts yesterday that just bounced all over the place and then today I had a couple misreads,” Schauffele explained.
“I don’t know if I was sort of thinking it was myself or the greens or whatever, but it definitely got in my head a little bit, and I wasn’t able to even just sort of clutch up and make anything.”
Schauffele drained a 38-footer for birdie at the first hole, hoping that would give him the spark he needed.
Instead, he did not make a putt longer than four feet the rest of the way.
“I know I’m a good putter,” Schauffele said.
Last year, Schauffele ranked 5th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting. He usually rolls the ball beautifully, and if he had the flat stick going like he usually does, he likely would have won.
Instead, he carded a 2-under 70 on Saturday to finish at 9-under, four strokes behind the winner. Matthieu Pavon, who finished at 13-under, became the first Frenchman to win in PGA Tour history.
As for Finau, he has historically struggled with his putter, unlike Schaffuele. A year ago, he finished 125th in strokes gained putting on the PGA Tour.
And that was on display all week at Torrey Pines.
Finau looked uncomfortable on the greens, often employing a short, nervy backswing on putts within ten feet. He either pushed it or pulled it, rarely finding the center of the cup.
The Utahan had plenty of opportunities on Saturday, as he was near the top of the leaderboard when he made the turn. But his putter was nowhere to be found, which explains why Finau shot a 3-under 69 instead of a much lower score. He finished three shots behind Pavon at 10-under.
“It was a nice day out there,” Finau said of his final round.
“I made a nice run on the front nine. I think I did what I needed on the first nine holes to put myself in contention. I had some looks coming in on 10, 11, 14, 15… [but those did not fall]. I was hoping that a couple of those putts would have fallen on that back nine, and maybe it would have been a different story this year.”
Finau carded a 4-under 32 on the front nine to get to 11-under, one shot off the lead. But as he explained, the opportunities he gave himself on the back nine slipped away.
And yet, remarkably, Schauffele and Finau finished within the top 10. The rest of their games were firing on all cylinders, but imagine how this tournament would have played out if their putters cooperated. Even somewhat.