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Sunday, 02 June 2013
Mikko Ilonen  (Getty Images)
Mikko Ilonen (Getty Images)
Mikko Ilonen turned the final round of the Nordea Masters into a victory procession as the Finn won his first European Tour title for six years at Bro Hof Slott.

The 33 year old, whose two previous victories came in 2007 – the latter in this event – started the day two clear and none of his challengers ever managed to close that gap.

A three under par 69 ensured a 21 under total and three shot victory margin over Sweden’s Jonas Blixt, with Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger sneaking third on 17 under after a 66 gave him an incredible 12 under weekend total.

Ilonen hit his approach to three feet on the second to set up a birdie, then converted from twice that length for another at the next.

After turning in 34 he birdied the 11th from 12 feet, before his only set-back with a three-putt bogey at the long 12th. 

A sublime chip to three feet at the next quickly atoned for that error, and there were no dramas over the closing stretch.

“It’s pretty special. I could feel a lot of support from Finland, especially today," said Ilonen, who had a long association with European Tour Course, Linna Golf, in Finland.

Asked about his bogey at the 12th, he added: “I just got ahead of myself with the first putt. I’ve said for weeks now it doesn’t really bother me if I make a bogey because I know I can make it up and it was the first time I went for the 13th in two.”

Ilonen had been a runner-up in Morocco before finishing second to Brett Rumford in China already this season, and was pleased with the way he dealt with those disappointments.

“To bounce back this soon is really good,” he continued. “It’s really satisfying, but the show I saw in China - I didn’t lose the tournament, Brett won it, so hats off to him.

“Obviously I’ve been waiting for this moment for a few weeks now. People have been expecting me to win but most of all I’ve been expecting myself to win, so to pull it off here after those second places is very satisfying.

“It’s been a long time [since I won] but I haven’t forgotten how it felt. In life there are ups and downs and I’ve found a better balance now. Life is good, my family is good and golf is alright, so I can’t complain.”

Blixt holed monster eagle putt on the ninth to get within two, but bogeyed the short 11th after missing the green and double bogeyed the 13th after finding the water as he finished with a 68.

His compatriot Alex Noren, the 2011 winner, briefly threatened to challenge after a birdie at the fourth, but could only play the back nine in a one over 37 as he finished tied for fourth with halfway leader Matteo Manassero, Dane Thomas Björn and another Swede, Rikard Karlberg.
“I’m pretty happy about the way I played this week,” said Blixt, who plays most of his golf on the US PGA Tour where he won last year. “I didn’t win but I made a good run at it so that’s what I’m happy about.

“It’s been fantastic and I’m never going to forget this. It’s been nothing but amazing this week, it is cool to come home and have people screaming and cheering, and I don’t really get that in the States so much, it’s awesome.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1ILONEN, MikkoFIN18-21
2BLIXT, JonasSWE18-18
3WIESBERGER, BerndAUT18-17
T4BJÖRN, ThomasDEN18-16
T4KARLBERG, RikardSWE18-16
T4MANASSERO, MatteoITA18-16

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