Sunday, 10 June 2018
Day 4 Highlights - Shot Clock Masters

Mikko Korhonen produced a brilliant display of front-running to blow away the field and win his first European Tour title at the Shot Clock Masters.

The Finn entered the final day with a five-shot advantage but his lead was cut to three in the early stages and he had to contend with two weather delays at Diamond Country Club.

Korhonen is no stranger to adversity after his 12 visits to the Qualifying School, though, and he signed for a closing 69, a 16 under par total and a six-shot victory over Scotland's Connor Syme.

The European Tour was breaking new ground this week with every player on the clock for every shot and penalties in place if shots were not played in the allotted time.

Only four players were handed penalties over the course of the week and with round times significantly quicker than the season average and players full of praise for the event, the innovative new format was a great success in Atzenbrugg.

But the headlines belonged to Korhonen, who has qualified from the Q-School four times - winning the Final Stage in 2014 and maintaining his place on Tour ever since.

The 37 year old now has a victory at the 146th attempt and has boosted his chances of a first appearance at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.

“I didn’t dare to think about winning,” he said. “When my last shot had landed on the 18th green, then I knew I had like five or six putts of cushion.

“It feels great, beautiful. It’s been a long wait so it feels so good. Yes, I have thought that I might not be in this position. I’ve been up there a couple of times and couldn’t do it at those times but now I’m so happy and relieved that I have done it.

“It’s not easy to win, especially not the first win, so I’m really happy to have done it. I have no words, it’s so good.”

Syme holed a monster putt on the last hole to take second place on his own and claim his best European Tour finish after making just three of 12 cuts so far in his rookie season.

Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, Frenchman Raphaël Jacquelin, South African Justin Walters and England's Steve Webster were then at nine under.

Korhonen's lead was cut to four shots by the time he teed off, with Jacquelin birdieing the first, fourth and sixth. A stunning approach by Jacquelin on the seventh then moved him into double figures but that was the closest anyone would get to the leader.

He played a beautiful approach from the rough on the third and after a one hour and 20 minute delay, returned to hole a 12-footer for a birdie on the fifth and hit a brilliant tee-shot into the sixth to lead by six.

Korhonen's bogey-free run was ended at 62 holes on the ninth after he hit a tree with his second but he led by seven after an approach to ten feet on the tenth.

He failed to get up and down from the sand on the 12th after another 38-minute delay but put an approach to four feet on the next and calmly parred his way home.

Syme was on the charge with birdies on the third, fifth and sixth but made back-to-back bogeys before recovering with a gain on the tenth and producing that big finish.

Jacquelin could not maintain his early pace and dropped shots on the 14th and 15th before also birdieing the last.

Walters bogeyed the second but four birdies in a row from the fourth saw him emerge as the closest challenger. A double-bogey on the next halted that momentum and he came home in level par.

Playing partners Colsaerts and Webster both signed for rounds of 67 early in the day.

English pair Ashley Chesters and David Horsey, Swede Peter Hanson, Welshman Oliver Farr and Spaniard Scott Fernandez were eight under.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KORHONEN, MikkoFIN18-16
2SYME, ConnorSCO18-10
T3WALTERS, JustinRSA18-9

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