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Golf News: - Posted 24th December 1997

Baker-Finch fined

Queensland, Australia - The Australasian PGA Tour fined Ian Baker-Finch $500 on Tuesday for disqualifying himself in the first round of a tournament last week.

Baker-Finch disqualified himself from the first round Coolum Classic when he was six-over par after eight holes then hit two balls into the water off the ninth tee.

Later, Baker-Finch, who has not made a cut in the United States since 1994 and has made only three cuts in Australia since, greeted reporters with an obscene gesture.

If Baker-Finch had been found to have brought the game into disrepute with conduct unbecoming a tour player, he could have been fined 5,000 dollars (2,400) and suspended from tournament play. Baker-Finch was fined the mandatory $500 for picking up during his round and not entering a completed scorecard. Indications are that he was fined the minimum.

"Ian's exceptional disciplinary record was taken into account and the issue is now concluded," said tour official Trevor Herden, who interviewed Baker-Finch on Saturday about both incidents.

Herden said Tuesday the tour had fined and disciplined Baker-Finch, a member of the Tour's board, for "acting in an unprofessional manner" and for "not acting in the best interests of the tournament."

Herden said details of the fine and any other action taken would remain confidential.

Coolum was Baker-Finch's first public appearance in a four-round event since a first-round 92 prompted him to withdraw from this year's British Open at Royal Troon in July.

Despite the controversy from the Coolum event, Baker-Finch honored a previous commitment to play in this week's Jack Newton Celebrity Classic. He shot a 78 Monday and closed with a 73 on Tuesday.