England's Finch soars high with NZ Open win

BY iseekgolf.com | Australasian PGA Tour | 2007 New Zealand Open | Round Four | 02 Dec 2007

Englishman Richard Finch kept his nerve as others fell around him to claim his first professional title at the Michael Hill New Zealand Open in Queenstown today.

A record Open crowd assembled to watch Finch, the overnight leader by three strokes at 14-under, try to hold his advantage over Australian hopefuls Steven Bowditch and Peter Fowler.

However, it never eventuated and the engraver could’ve started his formalities when Finch took a six-shot advantage into the last nine holes.

He finally did so when the 30-year-old drained a 12-foot par putt on the 18th for an even-par 72, following rounds of 73, 65 and 64 for a total of 14-under 274. New South Welshman Paul Sheehan drove a steady ship to sneak into second, shooting five birdies and two bogeys in a solid 69.

Both Fowler and Bowditch were unable to control their emotions while Finch stayed on an even keel, relying on a simplistic mix of straight driving, greens in regulation and dropping the odd putt as he’d done most of the week.

Even a crowd disturbance during his tee shot on the first hole couldn’t perturb him, recovering to make birdie after finding long grass on the right.

While he didn’t set the course alight as he did with his course record 65 on Friday – subsequently broken by Peter Fowler’s 62 – before going one lower the following day, his lead was always safe despite nerves dictating a few jittery swings towards the end.

Four players tied for fourth at 10-under, with a pair of 66s for Aussie Craig Parry and Swede Alexander Noren – the equal best rounds of the day alongside Welshman Jamie Donaldson – moved them up alongside Steven Jeffress and Matthew Millar.

Players now head to the Hyatt Regency Coolum on the Sunshine Coast Queensland for the 2007 Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA Championship starting on Thursday.


Position Score Player Country R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
1 -14 Richard Finch England 73 65 64 72 274
T2   ↑T4 -11 Paul Sheehan Australia 68 67 73 69 277
T2 -11 Steven Bowditch Australia 69 65 71 72 277
T4   ↑T19 -10 Alexander Noren Sweden 76 69 67 66 278
T4   ↑T19 -10 Craig Parry Australia 68 74 70 66 278
T4   ↑T11 -10 Matthew Millar Australia 72 71 68 67 278
T4   ↑T11 -10 Steven Jeffress Australia 71 68 72 67 278
8   ↓3 -9 Peter Fowler Australia 69 75 62 73 279
T9   ↑T11 -8 Matthew Zions Australia 72 73 66 69 280
T9   ↑T11 -8 Oliver Fisher England 70 69 72 69 280
Position Score Player Country R1 R2 R3 R4 Total
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