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Mikko Ilonen celebrated his 300th European Tour appearance in some style with a wire-to-wire win in the Irish Open at Fota Island Resort.

The Finn, who started the final round with a one stroke advantage, posted a closing round of 70 for a 13 under par winning total of 271, finishing one shot clear of Italian Edoardo Molinari, who claimed second place after a round of 67.

Ilonen birdied the second and fourth holes before a run of 13 consecutive pars meant he took a two stroke cushion to the 72nd hole, and although he dropped his only shot of the day on the last, it was good enough to secure his fourth European Tour title.

Sweden’s Kristoffer Broberg (69) and English pair Matthew Baldwin (69) and Danny Willett (71) shared third place on 11 under par, with Baldwin and Willett joining Molinari as the three players to secure a place in the field for The Open Championship by virtue of their higher world ranking.

The challenge of home favourite Graeme McDowell, who began the final round just two shots back, never really ignited, with the 2010 US Open Champion closing with a round of 71 to finish three shots back, in a share of sixth place with Swede Magnus A Carlsson.

Key quotes:

Mikko Ilonen

“Wire to wire, it was very much a Martin Kaymer inspired win. I sent a message to him last week that I really enjoyed watching golf. I very rarely enjoy watching golf – I would rather play golf – but Martin’s win definitely inspired me.

“I’ve won four times on The European Tour now, but this would have to be the biggest win of my career. When I looked back from the 18th green, I couldn’t believe how many people there were. It was great to see. It was a very humbling moment.”

Edoardo Molinari

“Any time you have such a long time off, it’s difficult to start playing good golf again. But this week has been much more like it. Yesterday, playing with Pádraig in front of so many people, it almost felt like a Major.

“When you can shoot under par in those conditions and under that pressure, it’s always a big boost to the confidence. Today, I think I was a little bit tired. I didn’t hit the ball very well but I’m very pleased with the way I finished, to shoot 12 under par on that course was good going.”

Graeme McDowell

“Tee to green, the game is definitely there. I’m focusing on the big picture this week, looking at the summer and looking at the two Major Championships coming up and the Ryder Cup and all kinds of fun things to look forward to. The game is in great shape, and there are a lot of positives this week.

“This represents my best Irish Open finish ever, so that’s a positive. I had amazing support this weekend and I really enjoyed myself. Some of the noise made by the crowd made the hairs on the back of my arm stand up. It’s a special feeling and I count myself very fortunate that I get to do what I do.”

Talking points:

  • Mikko Ilonen’s fourth European Tour International Schedule victory in his 300th European Tour event.
  • Moves to €777,420 in The Race to Dubai.
  • Could move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking from 63rd.
  • His first victory since the 2013 Nordea Masters.
  • The first time he has won in consecutive European Tour seasons during his career.
  • This victory beats his previous best 2014 performance of second in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, where lost a play-off to Sergio Garcia.
  • Becomes the first Finnish player to win the Irish Open.
  • Victory in the Irish Open comes in his ninth appearance in the event, but first at Fota Island.
  • This victory beats his previous best finish in the Irish Open of tied tenth in 2012.
  • Becomes the 29th different player to win the Irish Open since the event became part of The European Tour.
  • Finland becomes the 12th different country to win the Irish Open since the event became part of The European Tour.
  • The tenth player this season to win after leading or sharing the lead going into the final round.
  • The third of his four European Tour victories when he has led or shared the lead going into the final round. Led after 54 holes in the 2007 Indonesian Open, the 2013 Nordea Masters and by one shot here at the 2014 Irish Open. . (Made up three shots on the last day when he won the Nordea Masters in 2007).

Final golf scores:

271 M Ilonen  (Fin) 64 68 69 70,

272 E Molinari  (Ita) 67 69 69 67,

273 K Broberg (Swe) 69 69 66 69, D Willett  (Eng) 73 66 63 71, M Baldwin (Eng) 67 71 66 69,

274 M Carlsson  (Swe) 66 71 68 69, G McDowell  (Nir) 68 66 69 71,

275 G Bourdy (Fra) 68 71 67 69, R Fisher (Eng) 68 72 70 65, M Hoey  (Nir) 68 71 70 66, G Stal  (Fra) 70 67 69 69, C Wood  (Eng) 69 69 70 67, R Finch  (Eng) 68 72 67 68,

276 P Harrington (Irl) 69 67 71 69, A Gee  (Eng) 68 70 69 69, M Siem  (Ger) 66 74 71 65, S Khan (Eng) 69 66 70 71, G Maybin (Nir) 71 65 69 71, M Nixon (Eng) 70 65 74 67, F Zanotti (Par) 70 69 65 72,

277 A Hansen (Den) 67 70 68 72, R Kakko  (Fin) 71 66 72 68, R Wattel  (Fra) 69 65 70 73, M Crespi  (Ita) 68 67 73 69, R Gonzalez (Arg) 69 70 68 70,

278 R Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 72 68 70 68, P Larrazábal (Esp) 72 69 67 70, O Fisher  (Eng) 73 68 66 71,

279 R Rock (Eng) 68 66 74 71, M Fitzpatrick  (Eng) 72 69 70 68, M Warren (Sco) 71 70 68 70, S Kim (Kor) 69 67 74 69,

280 R Santos  (Por) 71 71 66 72, P Lawrie (Irl) 69 72 70 69, S Dodd (Wal) 73 69 72 66, P Casey  (Eng) 69 69 69 73, G Storm  (Eng) 69 70 70 71,

281 J Heath  (Eng) 70 72 72 67, J Singh (Ind) 68 73 69 71, E Goya (Arg) 70 70 70 71, T Pieters  (Bel) 72 70 70 69, D Huizing (Ned) 67 71 71 72, A Cañizares  (Esp) 72 68 71 70,

282 R Bland (Eng) 73 68 68 73, S Webster (Eng) 70 70 70 72, A Quiros  (Esp) 70 70 72 70, R Karlsson (Swe) 66 76 72 68, J Knutzon (USA) 73 69 71 69,

283 W Ormsby (Aus) 70 71 75 67, D Horsey (Eng) 72 69 71 71, A Wall (Eng) 71 71 71 70, G Havret  (Fra) 70 68 70 75, D Howell (Eng) 72 67 73 71,

284 C Doak (Sco) 69 70 73 72, J Olazábal (Esp) 69 73 73 69, S Manley (Wal) 70 68 72 74, A Pavan (Ita) 71 71 70 72,

285 J Kelly (Irl) 71 71 68 75, S Walker (Eng) 72 68 71 74, A McArthur  (Sco) 71 67 74 73, D Clarke (Nir) 72 68 73 72, J Carlsson (Swe) 70 70 72 73,

286 M Lundberg (Swe) 70 71 74 71, D Fichardt (RSA) 68 74 72 72, J Roos (RSA) 68 73 72 73,

287 F Calmels  (Fra) 73 69 75 70, L Hao-Tong (Chn) 69 72 69 77, A Saddier (Fra) 71 71 74 71,

289 A Forsyth (Sco) 71 71 72 75,

290 J Doherty  (Sco) 71 71 74 74, J Walters (RSA) 68 74 74 74,

291 T Lewis (Eng) 68 72 76 75,

292 P Sjöland (Swe) 69 72 77 74, G Hurley (am) (Irl) 72 66 81 73,

299 M Miller (USA) 73 67 79 80

Source: European Tour

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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