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Miko Ilonen takes Irish Open as Graeme McDowell's challenge fails to spark

Updated: Sunday, 22 Jun 2014 21:38 | Comments

Mikko Ilonen carded a final round of 70 to finish 13 under par, one shot ahead of Italy's Edoardo Molinari
Mikko Ilonen carded a final round of 70 to finish 13 under par, one shot ahead of Italy's Edoardo Molinari

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Finland's Mikko Ilonen claimed his fourth European Tour title with a wire-to-wire victory in the Irish Open at Fota Island on Sunday.

Ilonen carded a final round of 70 to finish 13 under par, one shot ahead of Italy's Edoardo Molinari, with Sweden's Kristoffer Broberg and English duo Danny Willett and Matthew Baldwin another shot back in third.

Graeme McDowell had been hoping to claim a first professional victory in Ireland in front of the massive crowds in Cork, but struggled on the greens and had to settle for a closing 71 and a share of sixth with Magnus A Carlsson, his first top-10 finish in 13 appearances in the event.

McDowell was left to rue a poor putting performance which meant he recorded just one birdie, the former US Open champion also three-putting the fourth for a par five and the 15th for his solitary bogey.

"Perhaps one of the worst putting weekends of my career when in contention," McDowell said. "I let a lot slip away yesterday and continued in the same vein today.

"So I'm kind of focusing on the big picture this week, looking at the summer and looking at the two major championships coming up and Ryder Cups and all kinds of fun things to look forward to.

"My game is in great shape and there are a lot of positives this week."

Ilonen established a new course record of 64 in the opening round and although that only lasted until Willett, aided by a hole-in-one, shot 63 on Saturday, the 34-year-old Finn took a one-shot lead into the final round.

Birdies on the second and fourth took Ilonen three clear of the field until Willett carded his second birdie of the day on the ninth, but that was as close as anyone got until Ilonen dropped his only shot of the day on the last, ironically after hitting an iron off the tee for safety.

"My game is in great shape and there are a lot of positives this week" - Graeme McDowell after his sixth-place finish

Michael Hoey finished on nine under par after a closing 66 while Gareth Maybin was a shot back after a closing 71.

Pádraig Harrington finished on eight under after shooting 69 and Peter Lawrie ended the tournament on four under par after also carding final round 69.

Darren Clarke (72) and John G Kelly (75) both finished one over par with amateur Gary Hurley ending on eight over par after a final round 73.

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