Finch leads Johnnie Walker after opening round


GLENEAGLES, Scotland – Richard Finch of England shot a 6-under 66 Thursday to lead the Johnnie Walker Championship after the opening round.

Finch is looking to end a two-year drought since winning twice in 2008, the New Zealand Open and Irish Open, the latter in which he made headlines around the world when he fell backward into a river while playing the final hole at Adare Manor.

“My scorecard doesn’t tell the whole story, but to go bogey-free was quite remarkable,” Finch said. “I took the scenic route at times, so I’m delighted with the result as 6-under par is a great score anywhere – and on a first day, so that was good.”

Five players are a shot back. The English quartet of Robert Rock, Richard Bland, Gary Boyd and David Lynne, and Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher.

England’s Simon Dyson is among a group at 4 under and a chance of breaking into the leading nine on the Ryder Cup points standings.

Dyson arrived in Scotland lying in 13th place in the standings and four places shy of automatically qualifying. However, he needs to win to have any chance of making the European team.

“It’s amazing what your attitude can be like when you know you have to win,” Dyson said.