No way on earth! - Finau amazed with Masters opening after dislocating ankle
Tony Finau went from a dislocated ankle to among the Masters leaders before ending the opening round tied for second in Georgia, much to his surprise.
Finau's Masters status was in doubt after he dislocated his ankle while wildly celebrating a hole-in-one during the iconic curtain-raising par-three contest at Augusta on Wednesday.
The big-hitting American seemingly popped it back in himself as his celebrations were cut short, with his participation in the year's opening major in serious jeopardy.
However, Finau defied the ankle injury with a superb four-under-par 68 - good enough for the lead at one stage before a red-hot Jordan Spieth claimed a two-stroke lead by the close of play on Thursday.
Reflecting on his first-round performance, which started with a bogey before birdies at the second, fourth, eighth, ninth and 13th holes catapulted him up the leaderboard, Finau said: "No way [did I expect to be in this position], no way on earth. After what I went through on the par-three contest, I didn't feel great this morning, no way I thought I'd be in this position.
"I hit a perfect shot, I got very excited when it went in, adrenaline took in and I started running. It's been replayed in my mind a lot. It's never happened before, I've strained my right ankle before but never the left. I understood what happened, I celebrated, I was quite embarrassed. I said the last thing happening is that I get stretchered out. It was a 10 [on the pain scale] for sure, it was pretty excruciating.
"I wanted to know if I'm able to play and have confidence. I knew there was a lot of pressure on that, it's a moment I dreamed of my whole life. I didn't want to see it slipping away."
How about this leaderboard?-- PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 5, 2018
1. Spieth, -6
2. Finau, -4
4. Stenson, -3
11. Wiesberger, -2
Full leaderboard from Round 1 at #theMasters: https://t.co/vZk1d8dmgTpic.twitter.com/OuAUPcavNH
"After the MRI, when they told me I was clear to go, I knew I was ready to play. It's a great feeling, there's nothing wrong with the foot, nothing broken. I've been here since 8am, putting pressure on my foot. There was a lot put into that this morning before I teed off," he continued.
"It felt good, it did. There was maybe a bit of adrenaline, mind over matter for me. I've been preparing, not thinking about the ankle and see how it works out."
Asked on his plans ahead of round two, he answered: "Elevate and ice [the ankle], and just get some rest. Hopefully I'll rest better than last night. Last night was tough. I didn't know what the situation was.
"I was able to stay in the moment because of my foot - every shot I hit I had to think about a little bit, it was easy to stay in the moment, it masked the pressure a little bit, hopefully I can stay there over the weekend."