Finch takes early bath on way to making big splash

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The Independent Online

England's Richard Finch not only won his second European Tour title yesterday but did something for which he will always be remembered. Going along smoothly and with a three-stroke lead on the final hole of the Irish Open at Adare Manor, the 30-year-old from Hull had no idea what was just about to happen.

His second shot to the par-five 18th finished on the bank of the River Maigue and, in playing his third, Finch lost his balance and fell into the water. On clambering out, Finch was able to laugh about it for the simple reason that his ball was on the green. Although he then three-putted for a bogey six, the former English amateur champion was able to celebrate adding the first prize of £330,297 to his New Zealand Open success in December.

"It was not a choice really," he replied when asked about his early bath. "It was a bit of an awkward stance, but I never gave falling in a thought. The momentum of the follow-through took me round and in."

Finch, fighting for his future on the European Tour until the final day of last season, shot a closing 70 for a 10-under-par total of 278 and a two-stroke victory over Chilean Felipe Aguilar.

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