Finau: A victory is `just around the corner’

Tony Finau is thinking victory at the halfway point of the BMW Championship, and there’s no reason he shouldn’t be. Finau is just a shot behind leader Hideki Matsuyama heading into Saturday’s Round 3 at Medinah.

Finau shot 66 on Friday in an effort to keep in close touch with the record-setting Matsuyama and believes Medinah No. 3 is a good fit for him.

“It’s a great driving golf course. It looks pretty good to me off the tee, and I’m a very visual, very creative player,’’ said Finau. “That plays a big part of the story.’’

Finau crushed a 333-yard drive on the par-4 eighteenth hole while trying to get into a share of the lead with Matusyama. He had only 115 yards to the pin but left his approach short and settled for a par and a one-stroke deficit. He’s tied for second with Patrick Cantlay.

“I feel like a win is around the corner,’’ said Finau. “I’ve felt that way all season. Coming off (last year’s) Ryder Cup I got some great experience there and had a couple good loos at majors this year. I haven’t gotten it done, but one of these times I know it’s going to be my turn. Hopefully that’s Sunday. If not, it will be next Sunday (the final round of The Tour Championship in Atlanta and the last round of these FedEx Cup Playoffs).

Tiger’s outlook dims

Tiger Woods’ chances of defending his title in next week’s Tour Championship are now slim and none.

Woods started the BMW Championship in 38th place in the FedEx Cup standings and needs to finish in the top 30 after the weekend round at Medinah to qualify for a place at East Lake. His first two rounds at Medinah (71-71) don’t suggest that’s likely.

“I’m going to have to have a great weekend and make a lot of birdies and post some rounds in the mid-60s to give myself a chance,’’ said Woods, who is 2-under-par after the first 36 holes.

Putting was Woods’ main problem on Friday.

“I left quite a few shots out there,’’ he said. “I hit the ball a lot better today, which is great, but I didn’t really make anything until 14.’’

By then it was too late to salvage his second round and – barring a huge comeback — his season will come to an end when his last putt drops at Medinah. He’s not the only top star struggling, either. Dustin Johnson is tied with Woods, 10 shots off the lead, and Phil Mickelson is still another shot back.

Too little, too late?

Jordan Spieth is only one shot better than Woods and Johnson, but at least he feels he has some momentum going into the weekend.

“I was able to close with three birdies in the last five holes,’’ said Spieth. “I probably need to go somewhere around 10-under on the weekend, but I certainly have the firepower to do it. I feel very confident holding the putter in my hands right now. I just simply need a few birdie putts. There hasn’t been enough of them.’’

Standing at 3-under Spieth is tied with two former BMW champions, Jason Day and Justin Rose, and Matt Kuchar. Dylan Fritelli, winner of this year’s John Deere Classic, is also in that group.