April 6, 2018 / 11:36 PM / 6 months ago

Finau battles through pain to stay in Masters contention

AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) - American Tony Finau kept his name high up on the leaderboard after the second round of the Masters on Friday, despite battling through the pain barrier of playing with a heavily taped left ankle.

Tony Finau of the U.S. watches his tee shot on the 4th hole during second round play of the 2018 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, U.S., April 6, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Finau tore ankle ligaments as he fell celebrating a hole-in-one during Wednesday’s Par-3 Contest on the eve of the tournament but was able to post a two-over-par 74 in tricky, gusty winds that blew across Augusta National.

The 28-year-old, the first person of Tongan and American Samoan descent to play on the PGA Tour, reached the halfway mark at two-under 142 to maintain his impressive Masters debut after a stunning opening round 68.

Tony Finau of the U.S. hits on the second fairway during second round play of the 2018 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, U.S., April 6, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

“It feels a lot better than it did yesterday, so we’re trending in the right direction,” he told reporters. “I was able to transfer my weight a little better today than yesterday. So it’s looking on the up.”

Finau admitted he went through an elaborate process to secure his ailing ankle before the round.

“There’s quite a bit of tape on it and just ice, rest, elevate, just all the stuff everybody knows with a sprained ankle,” he said.

“And obviously putting it under pressure quite fast, but we’re in the Masters, why not?

Tony Finau of the U.S. marks his ball on the second green, keeping weight off his dislocated left ankle, during second round play of the 2018 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, U.S., April 6, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Finau said he had to favor his right side to keep pressure off his injured ankle.

“I put the ball back (in my stance) and I got to stay back on my right side at the start,” he said. “I don’t really think about anything else from there. I try to make just a normal swing. I hit some really good shots out there.”

Despite the discomfort, Finau said he was very satisfied.

“I feel pretty good. Especially what I’ve been through just the last 48 hours, with my body and with my ankle, just emotionally it’s been a roller coaster for me,” he added.

“But I’m going to be in the hunt and going into the weekend, and I’m excited about that at a major championship.”

Editing by John O'Brien

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