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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2008 > European Tour > Irish Open > Round 4


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Richard Finch claims second title of 2008

England’s Richard Finch came through a comical tumble into a river to claim a two-stroke victory in the Irish Open on Sunday.

Finch, 30, jumped into 10th position on the European Ryder Cup Points List in capturing a second victory this season courtesy of a closing round 70 for a 10-under par total on a rain-softened Adare Manor course.

But the Yorkshireman was left red-faced when he tottered backwards into the River Maigue after playing his third shot from a grassy slope at the closing hole.

Finch emerged soaked to his chest but delighted to see his ball lying on the green from where he three-putted for victory.

“I am still in shock really, I was trying not to think about winning and not to get ahead of myself,” he told reporters.

“I am delighted how I played and whilst my swing from a technical point of view wasn’t that good, mentally I was delighted with how calm I felt and how in control I felt, and how I managed to capitalise on most of my opportunities I created.

“But that was until my third shot on the 18th because up until then I felt quite calm and in control.”

Finch’s second shot at the par five, 18th came to rest inside the line of a lateral hazard and just feet from the river.

Finch took his stance knowing he had 102 yards to the flag but in playing his shot, he lost his balance and stumbled into the river and up to his chest.

“It all went into a bit of blur after that and it never occurred to me when I walked down to my ball what might happen as I had room to swing my club,” he said.

“Lucky I managed to get decent contact on the ball and that’s all I was bothered about at the time.

“But I’ve never fallen into a hazard before and I guess I am going to take some time to live down what happened.”

Finch earned a first prize cheque of 416,660 euros ($644,800) to also jump 17 places to fifth on the European Tour Order of Merit.

Last December Finch clinched a maiden Tour victory in the co-sanctioned New Zealand Open.

Chile’s Felipe Aguilar, the reigning Indonesian Open champion, carded a 70 to finish in second place on eight under par.

England’s Lee Westwood (72), Ireland’s Gary Murphy (69), Holland’s Maarten Lafeber (67) and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson (71) were next best on seven-under-par.

Padraig Harrington, the defending champion and reigning British Open champion, stumbled in carding a final round 76 for a share of 31st place on one over par.

Harrington hit five birdies, but also carded six bogeys and a 16th-hole triple bogey.

“Today’s round was just one of those things where I played average, got caught out a few times, struggled with my concentration and didn’t hole any putts,” he said.


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