Michael Finnin ousts Robert Pope on 2nd Playoff hole.
Mike Finnin had to wait a long time for his happy ending to the rain-shortened Romain Buick Senior City Golf Championship on Sunday at Helfrich Hills, and all it did was make him sad. Finnin, who beat Robert Pope in a two-hole playoff, wanted to share it with someone special but couldn’t.
“This was for my dad (Gary),” said Finnin, 50, in his first year of eligibility. “I wish he was still around for me to call and tell about this, but he died on April 1.
“So when it ended, when Bob missed that last putt, I just started bawling. It was very emotional.” Finnin and Pope had been among the first players off on Sunday and posted even-par rounds of 71. Then they had to wait and wait for the rest of the 110-player field to finish their rounds. Robin Rubrecht, the 2010 winner, and Bryan Compton and Jim Atkins all finished in a tie for third at 72. “I had to wait almost four hours to the minute,” said Pope, 56. “It was tough because there were couches (in the clubhouse), but no pillows. I looked. So I just tried to keep moving, tried to stay loose.”
Finnin, who said he waited 3½ hours, took another approach. “I just worked on my putting the whole time,” he said. “I just stayed on the practice green.” When the playoff finally started at 5 p.m. at No. 1, both players missed the fairway off the tee. Pope missed the green short from the 18 fairway before Finnin hit his second shot to 8 feet from the rough. But both made par, Pope from 3 feet and Finnin tapping in from 3 inches. “I thought that first putt would move a little,” Finnin said.
“But it stayed right there.” Both players hit the second playoff hole, No. 2, a par-4, in regulation. But Pope faced a putt twice as long as Finnin and pushed his approach more than 3 feet past the hole. “That was a tough putt Bob had,” Finnin said. “Three guys in our group had it and missed it because it breaks the opposite of what you think.” And Pope missed it, too.
“That wasn’t the same swing I took with me earlier in the day,” said Pope, who did finish first in the Billie Martin Flight. “But I can’t feel too bad. “You look at the names on the (leader)board and it feels good to play with them.” Said Finnin: “I played well today. I only missed one fairway with the driver and had it 2-under after 15. Then I went bogey, par, bogey over the last three.” “But it all worked out in the end. Winning made it worth the wait.”