Ilonen wins World Match Play

European Tour

Mikko Ilonen became the first Finnish player to win the Volvo World Match Play Championship on Sunday.

The Finn emerged victorious in the final matchagainst the top ranked Henrik Stenson to earn the biggest paycheck of his golfing career.

Ilonen tamed the windy conditions to defeat Stenson 3&1 after his bogey-free round included four birdies at The London Club.

Stenson, who defeated South Africa’s George Coetzee on the final hole of their semi-final, was the first to make a move in the final match with birdie on the fourth.

But the Swede surrendered his lead immediately with a bogey on the fifth before hitting his tee shot into the water on the eighth.

While birdies on the tenth, 12th and 13th would bring him back into contention, it was Ilonen who rolled in a 12 footer for a crucial birdie to go three up with just four holes remaining. Ilonen would par the last few to secure the championship win.

“The game-plan was not to make any mistakes and I didn’t make any,” the 34-yeqar-old told Sky Sports.

“I definitely felt really comfortable going into the final and I felt I had a good chance of beating him.”

Meanwhile, Stenson revealed that he was feeling fatigued but still gave credit to his fellow Scandinavian for the victory.

“I felt I was running low on energy and I don’t know where I found the energy to finish this afternoon,” said the world five.

“I didn’t play my best and was unlucky on a couple of holes but all credit to him.”

All square after 19 holes, Joost Luiten would defeat Coetzee on the first extra hole of their playoff to claim third place.

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