Irish Open 2014: Mikko Ilonen holds his nerve to take victory at Fota Island
Last Updated: 22/06/14 8:16pm
Mikko Ilonen survived a final hole scare to win the Irish Open at Fota Island with a closing one-under 70.
The Finn had a two-shot teeing off at the par five final hole but drove into trees, hit his recovery up against another and could only punch his third 100 yards down the fairway.
(GB & Ire unless stated)
-13 M Ilonen (Fin)
-12 E Molinari (Ita)
-11 K Broberg (Swe)
-11 M Baldwin
-11 D Willett
-10 M A Carlsson (Swe)
-10 G McDowell
However, a solid wedge to the green allowed the 34-year-old to two-putt for a bogey six and take his third European title with a score of 13-under - a shot better than Italian Edoardo Molinari and two in front of Swede Kristoffer Broberg and English duo Mattew Baldwin and Danny Willett.
Graeme McDowell's bid to delight his home Irish fans and score a first win on home soil ended in frustration as a cold putter denied him the chance to convert numerous birdie chances.
He managed just one all day in a round of level par 71 which left him down in tied sixth place with Swede Magnus A Carlsson.
McDowell said: "One of the worst putting.rounds as a weekend of my career as regards being in contention. I let a lot slip away yesterday and continued in the same vein today. I kind of got in that mode where I was starting to search a bit on the greens, over-reading, over-technicalising.
"I'm very disappointed. I did the tee-to-green stuff. Gave myself the opportunities coming in but just couldn't get the ball in the hole.
"Really disappointed but what a fantastic week. A great Irish Open, great fans and I'm just disappointed I couldn't do a little bit better for them."
Ilonen had laid the foundation for victory with a new course record of 64 in the opening round and although that only lasted until Willett, aided by a hole-in-one, shot 63 on Saturday, the 34-year-old Finn took a one-shot lead into the final round.
Birdies on the second and fourth took Ilonen three clear of the field until Willett carded his second birdie of the day on the ninth, but that was as close as anyone got until Ilonen dropped his only shot of the day on the last, ironically after hitting an iron off the tee for safety.
He did threaten to open the door earlier when charging a birdie putt eight feet past the hole on the 12th while he also left himself with 15 feet for par on the next, but the Finn holed confidently each time to keep clear.
English teenager Matt Fitzpatrick, who was the only amateur to make the cut in the US Open last week, finished in a tie for 29th in his first tournament as a professional following a closing 68.