Mikko Ilonen of Finland fired a closing round of 70 to win the Irish Open at Fota Island Resort in County Cork by a single shot from Italy’s Edoardo Molinari.

Mikko Ilonen of Finland fired a closing round of 70 to win the Irish Open at Fota Island Resort in County Cork by a single shot from Italy’s Edoardo Molinari.

It was Ilonen’s 300th start on the European Tour and he completed the victory in style, leading from the starting gun to the finishing tape. The Finn opened with a course-record 64 and followed with rounds of 68 and 69 to carry a one-stroke lead into the final round.

The 34-year-old birdied the second and fourth holes to move three clear of the pack, but Danny Willett of England applied the pressure once more, moving to just one behind Ilonen with birdies at the 5th and 9th.

But the Englishman couldn’t get on level terms with Ilonen as the pair traded pars throughout the early part of the back nine. Willett suffered a bogey on the par-3 17th and so Ilonen took a two-shot lead into the final hole. Although he bogeyed the par-5 last, it was enough to secure the victory.

“I made sure that I paced myself well and I’m not too quick with things and keep my head up no matter what happens, and I kept on doing the same thing all the time, tried to hit the fairway. I hit a lot of greens today and kept okay pace with my putting,” Ilonen said.

“I looked back on the 18th green and I couldn’t believe how many people there were.  It’s nice to see – it was a very humble moment.”

With the victory Ilonen has moved inside the top-50 on the Official World Golf Ranking.

Edoardo Molinari of Italy fired an excellent closing round of 67 to move into second place. With that he secured one of the three places available for the Open Championship at Hoylake through the new Open Qualifying Series. The other spots went to Willett and his fellow Englishman Matthew Baldwin.

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell was hoping for a victory on Irish soil, but he struggled on the greens as he posted a last round of 71.

“”Perhaps one of the worst putting weekends of my career when in contention,” he said. “I let a lot slip away yesterday and continued in the same vein today.”

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

Irish Open
Fota Island Resort, Co. Cork, Ireland
Jun 19-22, purse €2,000,000, par 71

1    Mikko Ilonen (Fin)    64    68    69    70    271    €333,330
2    Edoardo Molinari (Ita)    67    69    69    67    272    €222,220
T3    Matthew Baldwin (Eng)    67    71    66    69    273    €103,333
T3    Kristoffer Broberg (Swe) 69    69    66    69    273    €103,333
T3    Danny Willett (Eng)    73    66    63    71    273    €103,333
T6    Magnus Carlsson (Swe)    66    71    68    69    274    €65,000
T6    Graeme McDowell (NIR) 68    66    69    71    274    €65,000
T8    Gregory Bourdy (Fra)    68    71    67    69    275    €39,700
T8    Richard Finch (Eng)    68    72    67    68    275    €39,700
T8    Ross Fisher (Eng)        68    72    70    65    275    €39,700
T8    Michael Hoey (NIR)    68    71    70    66    275    €39,700
T8    Gary Stal (Fra)        70    67    69    69    275    €39,700
T8    Chris Wood (Eng)        69    69    70    67    275    €39,700

Note: Player score in bold signifies Titleist ball usage