x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Richard Finch makes a splash before his second-place finish

The English golfer has found his lucky charm, getting wet before he tees off, a bit tougher when you are playing in the desert.

Richard Finch shot a four-under par 68 on Day One of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championships.
Richard Finch shot a four-under par 68 on Day One of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championships.

ABU DHABI // With annual rainfall amounting to 89mm in the capital, the Zayed Cricket Stadium, a mile or so up the road from where the golf is being played this weekend, is the driest Test venue anywhere in the world.

Given the fact the desert swing is more pronounced in golf than cricket at present, the National Course has a few rivals to that title in its own sport. Safe to say, though, it is rarely torrential in this part of town.

Some people, however, still manage to find ways to get wet.

Earlier this week, Richard Finch headed into the Westin Hotel, which is adjacent to the practice ground at the course, for a comfort break. He ended up stumbling into one of the water features in the hotel.

"It could have been a lot worse," he said yesterday. "I was in the middle thinking, 'Now where do I go?' So I just kept walking and ploughed on through it."

He has form. On his way to securing victory in the 2008 Irish Open, the Englishman fell into the River Maigue after playing his approach to the 18th from a precarious position halfway up the riverbank.

Perhaps wet feet are his good luck charm. He managed to dry his golf shoes in time to shoot a four-under par 68 yesterday, leaving him one behind the first-round leaders.

He carded an eagle two at the sixth, and said: "I didn't know it had gone in until we had gone up on the green. It was a nice surprise to get down there.