With some fine courses to play, such as Beverley & East Riding, it’s no wonder that East Yorkshire has produced some excellent golfers over the years.
Richard Finch may not go down as a major champion, but in 2008 the Hull professional did an outstanding job of cementing his status as a star on the European Tour.
From prestigious wins to a maiden Open Championship outing, it was a year that Finch will never forget.
Life on the Links
Typically, the winner of the Open Championship has some pedigree on Links golf courses – those open, exposed and sprawling layouts that tend to be buffeted by coastal winds, super-fast fairways and greens, and tangly, best-avoided fescue grass rough.
For those who bet on golf, identifying these Links specialists is key ahead of The Open – Rory McIlroy (15/2), Jon Rahm (9/1) and Scottie Scheffler (12/1) are the favourites for the 2024 Open on account of their successes playing in the wind and in controlling their ball on rock-hard surfaces.
For Finch, it’s perhaps no surprise that his best days in golf have come in such exposed conditions, considering his upbringing close to the east coast in Hull. Before he entered the professional ranks, Finch won the prestigious St Andrews Links Trophy in 2003 – an event played at the spiritual home of golf in Scotland that doubles up as the quintessential Links layout; it regularly hosts the Open Championship as proof of that.
”It’s an amazing honour.”
Matthew Jordan will hit the first shot at The 151st Open.
A full circle moment. pic.twitter.com/sYY5qOXibG
— The Open (@TheOpen) July 17, 2023
Former winners of the St Andrews Trophy include Matthew Jordan, Tom Lewis and Matt Southgate, who have each finished T11 or better in the Open Championship – proof that the Scottish tournament is an excellent breeding ground for successful Links golfers.
And so it would prove for Finch in the years ahead…
Open for Business
His 2008 campaign got off to the best of starts when he won the New Zealand Open, where he defeated the likes of two-time PGA TOUR winner Steven Bowditch and future Ryder Cup star Alex Noren.
By the early summer, Finch was contesting the Irish Open at the Adare Manor Golf Resort in Ireland, which while located inland is very much Links in nature. So it was no surprise when his previous success in such conditions would provide the perfect platform for a second European Tour (now known as the DP World Tour) title.
The likes of McIlroy and prolific global champions in Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood were able to reel in Finch’s winning score of -10, who would celebrate the finest moment of his career with a huge crystal trophy.
What the Hull man hadn’t accounted for was becoming a viral video sensation around the world after falling into a water hazard when playing a shot on his final hole – but even soaked to the bone and suffering mild embarrassment could dampen Finch’s spirits.
The win earned him a place at the 2008 Open Championship, where he joined the best golfers on the planet at the Royal Birkdale club in Merseyside. Finch opened with rounds of 75 and 73 in challenging conditions to make the cut, before rounding out his weekend with two more solid rounds as Padraig Harrington held off the extraordinary challenge of 53-year-old Greg Norman, who led the way after 54 holes.
All of which capped the best year of Finch’s professional career; a season he will never forget.
- Lib Dems ‘Seriously on the Up’ Says Leader After Stunning Double Victory
- What are Some of the Best Beaches Across East and North Yorkshire?
- Why Every Family Vehicle Needs a GPS Tracker
- Demystifying Slot Machine Algorithms: How RNG Works
- Beverley Building Society Builds On Its Community Strategy By Supporting Local Sports Clubs