Saturday, with nine 3s and an eagle-birdie finish, and a 66 on the Sunday when he made five birdies in the first seven holes while going out in 29.
He beat compatriot Mike Harwood by two strokes. His total of 130 strokes for the last two rounds tied Tom Watson’s effort from Turnberry in 1997 and remains a record. It was a case of third-time lucky for the Australian. Twice before he had been in the final pairing at The Open. In 1984 at St Andrews he was alongside Watson and hit his approach at the first into the Swilcan Burn. He went on to a 79. Six years later on the Old Course he was alongside Nick Faldo, who was never going to be caught. A 73 dropped Baker-Finch into a tie for sixth place.
“In 1984 I was just a 23-year-old kid with starry eyes,” he said at Birkdale. “And last year I learned a lot from the guy who won. I’m a different player now, tougher, stronger and better prepared.” Alas Baker-Finch’s game later began to fade. Returning to St Andrews in 1995, he drove out of bounds on the left of one of the widest fairways in the world. Although as fine a ball-striker as ever playing socially, he eventually retired from tournament golf. He became a respected television commentator and he will manage the Australian golf team when the sport returns to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.