Richard Finch’s memorable third shot on the final hole of The Irish Open, which ended with him taking an impromptu dip into the River Maigue before getting his hands on the silverware, has been voted The European Tour Shot of the Month for May.
Finch was three shots clear of his closest challenger, Felipe Aguilar of Chile, coming down the par five finishing hole at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort, when he drove his ball into the right hand rough before over-hitting his lay-up second onto the edge of the riverbank.
Despite the ball being above his feet and perilously close to the water hazard, the Englishman managed to find the green with a fine third shot.
However, the momentum also knocked him off balance and he plunged into the water, much to the amusement of the packed gallery.
That mattered little to Finch, who was fished out by his caddie before crossing the river and taking three putts to secure the title and the €416,660 first prize.
Of his crowd-pleasing shot, Finch said: “When I got there, I thought, well, it looks fine, I've got room to swing and I can get my stance, and I never really gave falling in a thought, to be honest.
“As I hit the shot, I knew straight away I had sort of made decent contact. I don't know whether I slipped or went round with momentum. And then the next thing I sort of just was gradually falling down the bank.
“I kept trying to follow the ball, but obviously then I looked up and saw it on the green, and I was sort in a bit of shock of, thinking my God, what have I done!”
A close second in the Shot of the Month award was Spain’s Miguel Angel Jiménez for his hole-in-one on the fifth hole in the final round of the BMW PGA Championship, which he went on to win after defeating Oliver Wilson in a sudden-death play-off.
Third was Jiménez again for his fairway wood at the second play-off hole to the middle of the green, at the same tournament.
Previous monthly award winners were South Africa’s Richard Sterne (January), New Zealand’s Mark Brown (February) and the Northern Ireland pair of Graeme McDowell (March) and Darren Clarke (April).
The European Tour Shot of the Month Award is presented to the Tour Member for the shot judged to be the most outstanding played during each calendar month on The European Tour International Schedule. The winning shots from each month are entered into The European Tour Shot of the Year Award.