Lauri Ruuska clinched his maiden European Challenge Tour title in memorable fashion by seven shots on home soil at the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge.
The Finn, who became just the fourth player in Challenge Tour history to shoot a round of 59 or better on Thursday, made more history by becoming only the second homegrown player to win at Vierumäki Resort.
The 29-year-old carded a final round of 64 to pull away from overnight challenger Jack McDonald and join Kim Koivu as a home winner of the event.
With a round of 59 on Thursday and a 27 under par winning total – his lowest 72-hole score on the Challenge Tour – it was a memorable week for Ruuska.
“It doesn’t get any better than this week,” he said. “There’s no better week than this. Whatever the future brings we’ll wait and see but this is the best week I’ve ever had.
“It’s tough to put it into words. It felt amazing to make that birdie at the end in front of my family, my girlfriend, and friends out there – just unbelievable.
“Over the last three years I’ve been struggling to get into the tournaments, and I’ve been spending so much time on the reserve lists, but this win makes my life so much easier. It’s going to be a life changing win that’s for sure.”
Ruuska began his final round with a birdie at the first and followed it with eight consecutive pars to reach the turn with a four-shot lead.
McDonald tried to close the gap at the top but Ruuska, who was cheered on by the home crowd, stuck to his gameplan and extended his lead in style with a birdie at the 11th ahead of back-to-back eagles at the 12th and 13th. While a closing birdie was met with raucous cheers as he sealed his victory in style.
Joakim Wikström of Sweden signed for a final round 61 to share second place with McDonald, Portugal’s Tomas Gouveia also made a final day charge, finishing in fourth place after a six under par 65.
With his victory, Ruuska moves from 95th to 25th on the Road to Mallorca Rankings, while McDonald is up from 160th to 64th place.
Next on the Road to Mallorca is the Dormy Open taking place at Askersunds Golfklubb from August 24-27.