Perennial runner-up Tony Finau won on the PGA Tour for only the third time with Sunday's rollicking comeback victory from nowhere at the 3M Open.
Trailing by five shots Sunday morning at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Finau's steady 4-under-par 67 overcame runaway leader Scott Piercy's disastrous, unraveling back-nine 41 and final-round 76. Piercy led or shared the lead the first three days.
Finau's three consecutive birdies on the back nine and five total pushed him to 17 under par. He finished three shots better than South Korea's Sungjae Im and Argentina's Emiliano Grillo and four shots better than Piercy, James Hahn and Fargo's Tom Hoge, who called his tie for fourth and a "back to basics" approach "the best I played all year." Hoge won at Pebble Beach in February, but had missed his past five cuts.
A winner at the 2016 Puerto Rico Open and last August's FedEx Cup playoffs' Northern Trust, Finau won again Sunday, this time marching from behind when Piercy stumbled rather than watch victory slip away again. He earned $1.35 million.
It's the PGA Tour's largest comeback since Sam Burns came from seven shots back at the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge. Its three-shot margin is the biggest in four 3M Opens.
His victory gives the 3M Open a star champion with name recognition that they lacked its first three years.
It was the first time Finau won with his family present, including his five young children.
In doing so, he hoped it delivered them a message from a father who has finished second on tour 10 times, third another three times and had top 10 finishes at least twice in all four major championships while winning just twice since turning pro in 2007.
"This was going to be as special as any I ever play, with my wife here, all my kids," he said afterward. "They see all the work I put in and it's important for them to see there's a lot of loss no matter what, but there's also wins. There are good things that happen when you work hard, be a good person. This one was for my kids and my family. Fantastic to win with them here."
Finau, 32, already had second-place finishes in both Canada and Mexico this season. He and the field trailed Piercy by at least five shots when Piercy reached 20 under par after six holes Sunday.
Then Piercy, who made just three bogeys the first three-plus days, made five bogeys and a triple-bogey 7 at the watery No. 14 in his next eight holes.
"I didn't know what happened at 14," Finau said. "I still don't know what happened at 14, but obviously something happened because when I got to 16 green, I had a three-shot lead. My heart almost skipped a beat."
Piercy's drive had buried near a bunker lip, the ball above his feet. Piercy left his second shot in that bunker, then hit into the water.
When Finau looked at a leaderboard at the 16th hole, he had gone from well back of first to the top of the leaderboard.
"I think I'm still trying to catch up, still trying to figure it out. I was just chasing all day," he said. "That's all I remember. Really all week. The thing about out here, I just know from experience that you have to just keep playing. Anything can happen and that's what I did."
Piercy didn't speak to reporters afterward, after watching a fifth PGA Tour title slip by a gusting wind. He walked off the course with an odd grin on his face, tossed a young boy behind the ropes a ball and later gave Finau a big hug outside the players' locker room area.
"Scott Piercy's awesome," Finau said. "I've known him more than 15 years. We've had a good relationship for a long time and it means everything to me."
Grillo congratulated Finau with a hearty handshake, neither of them expecting the afternoon to turn out quite like it did.
"When you have somebody who reached 20 under par and still had 12 more holes to go, you don't usually see big numbers on the back nine, especially from the leader," Grillo said. "Tony just pressed hard and he made it impossible for everybody else."
Once in the lead, Finau avoided trouble at the two finishing holes. His shot at par-3 17th sailed over the green, struck a corporate tent behind him and bounced back to end up pin high against boulders that separate the green from the hole's water hazard. He made bogey at the par 5 18th, for a three-shot victory after he drove into the water.
After making par at 17, Finau kissed the ball, patted his heart and pretended to get weak in the knees.
"Sometimes you get bounces that go your way," Finau said. "I got the good bounce, not the bad bounce. I've had many times in that situation where I need a bounce and I got the bad bounce. Nice to see I got a good bounce today."
Finau kept the ball he hit for a hole-in-one and injured his ankle celebrating at the Masters' 2018 par-three contest.
"I'm not a ball keeper. I have some," Finau said. "I have that [Masters] golf ball, I don't know why."
Asked if he'll save it as a keepsake, Finau said. "I might already have given this one away to the scorekeeper, honestly, but I gave it it a nice kiss, though."