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Finland's Mikko Ilonen ends six-year wait for third Euro Tour trophy with victory in Sweden

Updated: Sunday, 02 Jun 2013 17:05 | Comments

2013 Nordea Masters champion Mikko Ilonen
2013 Nordea Masters champion Mikko Ilonen

Mikko Ilonen ended his European Tour trophy drought today in winning the Nordea Masters in Stockholm by three shots.

Stunning performances on days two and three at the Bro Hof Slott Golf Course had put the Finn firmly in contention to land his first title on the tour in six years.

And Ilonen continued to make his mark today, carding four birdies to finish with a round of 69 and an impressive 21 under overall for the tournament.

His only final-round blemish came with a bogey six on the 12th.

Home favourite Jonas Blixt was Ilonen's nearest challenger, going round in a four-under 68 today to finish on 18 under.

A six-under 66 from Bernd Wiesberger ensured the Austrian rounded off the top three, a further shot adrift.

Damien McGrane, after a first-round one-over-par 73, shot rounds of 67, 68 and 68 to finish in a share of 14th place, nine shots off winner Ilonen.

Alan Dunbar closed out with a 74 for a two-over-par total, leaving him a long way off the pace.

Mikko Ilonen reflected on a "pretty special" day. Ilonen's last success came at the Scandinavian Masters in 2007 and he admitted a good night's sleep contributed to today's success.

"I slept brilliant. I was pretty tired after yesterday - yesterday was the toughest day of them all, I think," he said.

"I have my family here with me. My boy's gone to sleep about 8.30pm and I went off about 9pm, so I slept pretty good all the way through to about 6.30am.

"It's pretty special. I could feel a lot of support from Finland, especially today.

"Playing with Alex (Sweden's Alexander Noren) in the last group in front of the local fans, it feels pretty special."

Not even a lapse in concentration on the 12th green, where he fluffed a short putt, could knock the 33-year-old out of his stride.

He said: "I just got ahead of myself a little bit with the first putt.

"I've said it for weeks now, it doesn't really bother me if make a bogey, a birdie or par. As long as I have holes to play I know I can make it up and I did."

Blixt tried his hardest to catch Ilonen, carding an eagle on the par-five ninth, but dropped shots on the 11th and 14th plus a double bogey on the 13th saw him come up short with a four-under 68.

A six-under 66 from Bernd Wiesberger ensured the Austrian rounded off the top three, a further shot adrift, while Thomas Bjorn was among the Nordic contingent to grace the leaderboard following his round of 67.

The Dane carded six birdies to one bogey to finish in a four-way tie for fourth on 16 under, alongside Swedes Rikard Karlberg and Noren plus Italian Matteo Manassero, who was looking to add to his success at last weekend's BMW PGA Championship.

Ross Fisher also made tremendous strides on the final day to finish on the leaderboard, albeit six shots off the pace.

The 32-year-old sank eight birdies in a flawless round for a score of 64 and 15 under overall.

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