domingo, 19 de octubre de 2014

Mikko Ilonen win the final of the 2014 Volvo World Match Play Championship

A long week of exceptional golf concluded today with the final of the 2014 Volvo World Match Play Championship when world number 5 Henrik Stenson took on the winner of this Summer’s Irish Open, Mikko Ilonen.

Since halving his opening match on Wednesday, Stenson has won all of his matches, as has Ilonen since losing to Joost Luiten on the same day. After the tension of their semi-final victories and a short lunch break, fitness and stamina were likely to play their part in the afternoon.

Having been forced to lay up on the 1st after wayward drives, both players only just cleared the water with inches to spare before halving it, and the next two holes, in par. The Swede was first to draw blood with a two at the short 4th, but handed his lead straight back by dropping a shot at the next. Ilonen then sank a good putt for a two at the 8th after his opponent had hit into the water, which meant that he was 1-up at the turn. Halves in three at the 10th were followed by another birdie at the next to put Ilonen 2-up, and he extended his lead to three at the 12th after a par save from sand.

Stenson now had everything to do over the closing six holes and holed a crucial putt for birdie at the 13th to reduce the gap. Ilonen responded with a superb tee shot over the water and right over the flagstick at the 14th to restore his cushion, only for Stenson to birdie the next to pull it back to two. A half at the par-3 16th meant that when Stenson missed his birdie attempt at the 17th, he conceded his opponent’s putt to leave Ilonen as champion, 3&1. For the 34 year-old golfer from Finland, this is the fifth and biggest win of his professional career so far and moves him into the top 10 in the Race to Dubai. 

Following his win, a delighted and somewhat modest Ilonen said, “It could have gone either way really. I had a better afternoon than he did. Tomorrow morning we could play, it might go the other way. But we were obviously playing for the trophy as hard as we could, and I came out on top. It feels unreal when you look at all the names on the trophy.”

Semi finals
Mikko ILONEN         2&1         Joost LUITEN NED
                                      George COETZEE      1 hole      Henrik STENSON


Mikko ILONEN      3&1          Henrik STENSON

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