Ilonen cruises to 3-shot win in Sweden|
Stockholm, Sweden (Sports Network) - Mikko Ilonen carded a 3-under 69 to
cruise to a 3-stroke win at the Nordea Masters.
Ilonen, who won this title for the second time, finished at 21-under-par 267.
The victory at Bro Hof Slott Golf Club was his third on the European Tour.
"It's pretty special. I could feel a lot of support from Finland, especially
today," Ilonen stated. "Playing with Alex (Noren) in the last group, in the
front of the local fans. It feels pretty special I have to say."
Jonas Blixt briefly got within two with nine holes to go, but ended three
behind at minus-18 after a final-round 68. Bernd Wiesberger was one shot back
at 17-under 271 after closing with a 6-under 66.
Thomas Bjorn (67), Noren (72), Rikard Karlberg (68) and last week's BMW PGA
Championship winner Matteo Manassero (70) shared fourth place at minus-16.
Ross Fisher fired an 8-under 64, the low round of the day, to grab eighth
place at 15-under-par 273.
Ilonen got off to a quick start with a short birdie putt at the second. He
made it two in a row as he also birdied the third from seven feet out.
The 33-old Finn ran off seven consecutive pars from the fourth, and that is
when Blixt narrowed the gap. Blixt birdied the fourth to move to 15-under. The
Swede birdied the eighth and followed with an eagle on No. 9 to get within two
of Ilonen's lead.
Blixt, playing one group ahead of Ilonen, stumbled to a bogey on the 11th.
Ilonen followed with a 10-foot birdie putt to push his lead to four.
There was a 2-stroke swing in the other direction at No. 12. Blixt made birdie
before Ilonen 3-putted for bogey to cut his advantage from four to two.
"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 said of his bogey.
There was another big swing at 13. Blixt faltered to a double-bogey at the
par-5. Ilonen chipped to five feet and made that putt for birdie. He was four
clear of Noren at that point. Ilonen parred the last five holes to seal the
Blixt followed his double-bogey with a bogey at the 14th. He got those shots
back as he poured in three consecutive birdie efforts from the 15th. That
surge moved Blixt back into second place, and he ended there with a par at the
Noren tumbled six off the pace with a double-bogey at the 15th. He bounced
back with a birdie at 16, but he parred the last two to share fourth.
NOTES: Ilonen earned 250,000 euros for the victory ... He will move inside the
top 70 in world rankings on Monday ... Ilonen played 126 European Tour events
between victories ... Jose Maria Olazabal had a hole-in-one on the par-3 16th
... The European Tour heads to Austria next week for the Lyoness Open, where
Bernd Wiesberger is expected to defend his title.
06/02 12:25:45 ET