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Irish challenge falters as Miko Ilonen goes wire-to-wire at Fota Island

Graeme McDowell could not buy a putt all afternoon and finished three shots off the pace.

McDowell misses a birdie chance on the first green.
McDowell misses a birdie chance on the first green.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

FINLAND’S MIKO ILONEN survived a late detour into the woods at Fota Island to win the Irish Open by one stroke from Italy’s Edoardo Molinari.

Ilonen, who led from the end of the first round on Thursday, took a two stroke lead onto the 18th tee but his drive was wayward. He chipped back out onto the fairway and backed away with a dart at the peninsula green. He laid up and two-putted for the bogey, and a score of -13, that earned him the Irish Open title and a cheque for €333,330.

Graeme McDowell went into the final round as Ireland’s best hope of keeping the title on home soil. His putter never got going, however, and he carded an even par 71 to finish tied sixth on -10.

Mikko Ilonen Miko Ilonen gets comfy in Cork. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

England’s Danny Willett could not replicate his course-record 63 of Saturday and finished tied third on -11 after going around the Corlk course in even par. He was joined for a share of third by Kristoffer Broberg and Matthew Baldwin.

Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey shot a superb 66 to finish tied eighth on -9. Padraig Harrington [69] was a shot further back but had to settle for tied 16th, as did Gareth Maybin [71].

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Patrick McCarry

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