Richard Finch was left to reflect on a missed opportunity to secure his third European Tour victory at the Volvo China Open – but the Hull-born golfer still drew plenty of positives from his endeavours around Beijing CBD International GC.
Leading by a stroke from Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano going into the final round, Finch carded a two-over-par 74 to finish two strokes behind eventual winner Scott Strange.
Three bogeys over his opening nine holes proved too much to overcome as the 31-year-old could only muster one birdie – at the 10th – coming back as a number of opportunities slipped by.
While naturally disappointed not to have lifted the trophy having led going into the final day, Finch was not too downbeat over his performance.
“So far this year it’s been 30th to 50th every week really so the consistency level’s got a lot better from last year but I’ve not been in contention, so it’s nice to have been in contention,” he said.
“I’ve had four weeks off and my long game overall was as good as it’s ever been. I think that was the best tournament I’ve played in terms of striking the ball so I was really pleased with that.
“Overall, it was a good week but obviously it’s that little bit disappointing to be leading going into the last round and shoot a 74 and find out that one under par would’ve resulted in victory.
“I set out just to try and hit the fairways, hit the greens and that’s what I did and it wasn’t to be. Well played to Scott Strange and it just wasn’t to be.”
Strange was four shots off the lead when he teed off on the first but a well-crafted 68 saw the Australian pick up his second European Tour victory at the co-sanctioned event.
“I’ve had six weeks off and didn’t have too much practice under my belt, came here refreshed and ready to go, managed to play nicely the first couple of days and bring it home,” he said.
“I’ve played solid and it’s a golf course that’s suited me because I’ve played so solid, I wasn’t really going to put myself in too much trouble. I was always playing to leave myself the best putt I could have because of the slopes out there.”
Despite the victory, Strange was guarded over his prospects of more success.
“I’m still growing as a golfer,” he added.
“This game’s a very fickle sport, isn’t it? One day you’ve got it, the next you haven’t so that’s why we work so hard. So we’ll just see what happens in the years to come.
“I’ve played in the States a couple of times but I haven’t looked at going there yet because, when I was growing up in Australia, it was all about European Tour, that’s where guys went.
“If you look at the US Tour now – Allenby, Appleby and Ogilvy – all those guys have played in Europe.”