Ross McGowan of England held on to win his first European Tour title in the Madrid Masters at the Centro Nacional de Golf by three shots from Finland’s Mikko Ilonen.

McGowan led by seven strokes going into the final day after a scintillating third round of 60 and the Englishman ground out a closing 71 to keep a charging Ilonen at bay.

It was the 27-year-old from Surrey’s first European Tour victory and it lifted him into the top-25 on the inaugural Race to Dubai rankings.

“I came here this week in form and it’s lovely to come away with the trophy,” McGowan said. “It means a lot to win – that’s another goal out of the way and hopefully from here I can progress and move on to bigger things.”

Ilonen began the week with a disappointing 74 but struck back with consecutive rounds of 63 on Friday and Saturday. He proved to be McGowan’s closest challenger as he fired a closing 66 to narrow the gap at the top to just three strokes.

It was an important result for the Finn as his second place cheque for €166,660 lifted him well into the top 115 on the money list and effectively secured his playing rights for 2010.

Scotland’s David Drysdale finished alone in third place with Gareth Maybin, Gary Murphy and Alexander Noren tied for fourth.

Madrid Masters
Centro Nacional de Golf, Madrid, Spain
Oct 8-11, purse €1,500,000, par 72

1    Ross McGowan (Eng)    66    66    60    71    263    €250,000
2    Mikko Ilonen (Fin)    74    63    63    66    266    €166,660
3    David Drysdale (Sco)    66    65    69    67    267    €93,900

T4    Gareth Maybin (NIR)    70    68    68    64    270    €63,700
T4    Gary Murphy (Ire)    67    65    70    68    270    €63,700
T4    Alexander Noren (Swe)    71    67    67    65    270    €63,700    
T7    Ignacio Garrido (Esp)    74    63    67    67    271    €38,700
T7    Anthony Wall (Eng)    66    67    70    68    271    €38,700

T7    Danny Willett (Eng)    66    67    66    72    271    €38,700

Player scores listed in bold signifies Titleist ball usage only