AUGUSTA: 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.
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.
"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?
Finau said he had to favour 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."