Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that both Tony and his younger brother, Gipper Finau, will be participating in the qualifying round at the Makaha Golf Resort on January 8, 2007 in which the four top qualifiers will then be eligible to play for the upcoming Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu on January 10-14, 2007. The Sony Open is the second internationally renowned PGA tournament scheduled for the year 2007.
The Finau Brothers are of Tongan-Samoan descent and are the sons of Mr. Kelepi and Ravena Mapu Finau from Salt Lake City, Utah. They are also the grandsons of Lei’a Mapu (village of Aoa, American Samoa) and Nola Fonua (village of Houma, Tongatapu, Tonga).
The Finau Brothers have accomplished and achieved many national and international junior golf awards and set records in both regional and national competitions. For example, Tony, at the age of 17, recently defeated other competitors such as collegiate athletes and ranking state amateurs to become the 2006 Utah State Amateur Champion. In 2006, Gipper, at the age of 16, became the youngest player in the history of the Nationwide Tour to make the “cut” by completing a qualifying score in order to play the final rounds of a professional golf tournament.
“I am very pleased to announce the success of the recent achievements and accolades of the young Finau Brothers in the sport of golf both in the state of Utah and in national competitions,” said Congressman Faleomavaega. “Tony and Gipper at their young age are great role models for the many young and upcoming sports athletes who are of Polynesian descent.”
“As an avid supporter for the sport of golf, it is always a joy for me to watch these young boys play such a difficult sport with ease. I have personally witnessed the boys drive the golf ball with their 3 fairway wood easily over 300 yards and both have deadly accuracy in their short game. Tony currently averages 350 yards or more with his driver. He was selected as one of the six top national junior golfers to represent the United States in the prestigious Junior Ryder Cup tournament held in Ireland last year. His younger brother Gipper was also selected as an alternate in the competition in which they both participated,” said Congressman Faleomavaega.
“Tony, a senior in high school and graduating this June, is a highly recruited prospect for the many top ranked universities on both the West and East Coast. He is being recruited by such schools such as: BYU, USC, UCLA, UNLV, University of Arizona, Arizona St. and other schools in the country. Tony and Gipper as amateur golfers have defeated some of the best collegiate players from ranked colleges. These are just a few examples of the caliber and the quality of golf the Finau Brothers have achieved.”
“I am proud of Tony and Gipper for not only their accomplishments as golfers but of young men who exert great character amongst their peers, particularly in our Polynesian communities. I want to take this opportunity to wish the boys much success next week in the qualifying round for the 2007 Sony Open in Hawaii. I want to also congratulate their parents Kelepi and Ravena who have been a tremendous support for their sons from the beginning,” concluded Congressman Faleomavaega.
Photo 1: Congressman Faleomavaega with (l-r) Gipper Finau and Tony Finau. Photo 2: Congressman Faleomavaega and David Tua are pictured with the Finau brothers and their father during an event in Utah last Summer. (L-R): Faleomavaega, Mr. Kelepi Finau, Gipper Finau, Tony Finau, and David Tua.