Finau eases to four-shot Houston Open win

Winning used to come hard for Tony Finau, now he is making it look easy.

Staked to a four-shot lead on Sunday in the Houston Open, Finau stretched it to eight shots on the back nine and sailed to his third PGA Tour victory of the year.

With three bogeys that only affected the margin, he closed with a one-under 69 to take the title by four.

Finau won only once in his first 185 tournaments after joining the PGA Tour.

Now he has four from his last 30 outings - including three this calendar year.

"I've always had belief, but confidence when you win is contagious," Finau said.

"I'm starting to put together a full-package game."

It certainly showed over four days at Memorial Park.

Finau seized control with a 62 in the second round ahead of a change in weather and was superb in his bogey-free round of 68 in Saturday's cold and wind. No one came close to catching him on Sunday.

He finished with a 16-under 264 and started the new season with a win - moving to No.12 in the world ranking - after shaking off some rust in a missed cut last week at Mayakoba.

PGA Tour rookie Tyson Alexander finished second thanks to a tie-breaking nine-metre birdie putt on the 18th for a 66.

"Great week for me," Alexander said. "I wish Tony would have taken the week off."

Britain's Ben Taylor missed his seven-and-a-half metre birdie putt on the 18th for a 70 to finish third.

"It was one of those days I fought and fought, and I made a lot of nice putts that calmed me," Finau said.

"I've never been in this position. I had a lot of nerves. Overall, as the round went on, I felt better. I was happy to get the 'W' today."

Alex Noren had a 68 and tied for fourth to move to No.45 in the world. He will need to stay in the top 50 by the end of the year for any hope of a Masters invitation.

Masters champion Scottie Scheffler closed with a 67 and tied for ninth. He needed a win to replace Rory McIlroy as world No.1.

Jason Day, the only Australian in the field, scored a fourth-round 68 to tie for 16th.