Ian Baker-Finch
Ian Baker-Finch

Baker-Finch is A-OK

THERE was no denying former British Open champion Ian Baker-Finch victory at the PGA of Australia Legends Tour Championship at the Byron Bay Golf Club yesterday afternoon.

The 51-year-old was always in control as he went into the final day of the 54-hole tournament seven-under par with a four-shot lead over Allan Cooper.

A par round yesterday was enough for him to extend the margin to six shots.

Baker-Finch finished with a three-round total of 209 to win from Cooper (215) and Mark Sherman (218), the only American golfer in the event.

"It's a spectacular course and to play well has been a bonus," Baker-Finch said.

"To win any of the three major tournaments on the Legends Tour is special.

"It's great to play with some of these guys again and it's been a lot of fun.

"Hopefully we can spark a bit of interest here and encourage some young blokes to follow in our footsteps."

Having never played at Byron Bay, Baker-Finch quickly made the course his own with six consecutive pars and four birdies to take a two-shot lead in the opening round on Sunday.

An afternoon of wind and rain interrupted play on Monday, but he extended the lead with another stellar performance.

Baker-Finch is hoping to spend more time in Australia next year but will continue to work as a television commentator for CBS Sports in the United States.

Sherman, a big Californian, proved popular with members and spectators as a string of birdies allowed him to finish even with the card heading into the final round.

"It's a phenomenal golf course and I'm happy with how I ended up," Sherman said.

"Seven shots is a big lead and I just wanted to finish on a high."

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